Stun gun attack pair jailed for 'utterly terrifying' raid

Ipswich Crown Court Picture: CHARLOTTE BOND

Barry Sharp and Gary Thompson were jailed at Ipswich Crown Court - Credit: Charlotte Bond

Two burglars who took part in a raid at the home of a terrified elderly couple who they stunned with an electroshock weapon before assaulting and tying them up have been given jail sentences totalling 25 years.

During the raid, the male victim was told his elderly wife would be raped if he didn’t open their safe and she was tied up and left unable to see or hear after having her cochlear implant knocked out and her head covered, Ipswich Crown Court heard.

Sentencing Barry Sharp, who was the “organiser and instigator” of the raid, and his co-defendant Gary Thompson, Judge Emma Peters described the attack as “utterly terrifying".

Barry Sharp was the 'organiser and instigator' of the raid

Barry Sharp was the 'organiser and instigator' of the raid - Credit: Essex Police

She said that during the burglary the female victim was struck in the face with a monkey’s fist - a weighted rope - and her husband was left with the imprint of a shoe on his face after one of the intruders stamped on him.

Sharp, 45, formerly of Thurston, near Bury St Edmunds, and Thompson, 46, of Sidney Road, Ludlow, Shropshire, denied conspiracy to commit aggravated burglary but were convicted by a jury by 11-1 majority verdicts after a trial.

Sharp, who Judge Peters described as being without “pity, remorse or decency”,  was jailed for 13 years and Thompson was locked up for 12 years.

The court heard that the victims were at their home in Halstead Road, Fordham, near Colchester, in November 2018 when two men arrived in a van pretending to be delivering a bouquet of flowers.

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When the woman who lived there said they had the wrong address and tried to shut the door the men barged in and used a stun gun on her in the hall.

Gary Thompson has been jailed for his part in the terrifying break-in

Gary Thompson has been jailed for his part in the terrifying break-in - Credit: Essex Police

They pushed her into the living room and asked if she had any money buried in the garden.

When she said no she was hit in the face causing her to fall onto a sofa.

Her husband, who’d been in an outbuilding when he heard his wife screaming, came into the house with a third member of the gang who’d been waiting outside.

He struggled with the intruders but was then assaulted before being shocked with the stun gun.

His wife was taken to a bedroom where her hands were tied with cable ties and her head covered with a piece of clothing.

Her husband was forced to open a safe which contained cash and jewellery and his hands were tied before the intruders left the property.

Thompson’s DNA profile was found on cable ties used during the burglary while mobile phone cell site and ANPR (Automatic Number Plate Recognition) camera evidence linked Sharp to the offence.

In impact statements, the victims described the devastating impact the offence had had on their lives and said they had spent £24,000 on improving security at their home.

The male victim said he was “gutted” that his wedding ring was stolen during the raid.

Thompson chose not to give evidence during the trial while Sharp told the court he’d arranged to meet a friend for breakfast near Colchester but had got lost and by chance had been in the area of the bungalow where the burglary took place.

Kerry Moore, for Thompson, said his client had got involved in the offence after becoming homeless and becoming addicted to alcohol and crack cocaine.

Jeremy Lynn, for Sharp, said his client, who was employed as a security guard at a Ministry Defence site, hadn’t gone into the premises during the burglary.

He said he had missed a substantial amount of school after being seriously injured in a hit and run accident when he was four.