20th Sep, 2018

Armed robbers jailed after holding up dog walker at knifepoint

Editorial Correspondent 10th Sep, 2018 Updated: 10th Sep, 2018

A WOMAN who had been walking her dogs on the outskirts of Kenilworth was held up at knifepoint by two robbers who demanded the keys to her Land Rover.

But Brian Wright and Liam Turbitt at least had the ‘humanity’ to allow her to take the dogs out of the back of her Freelander before driving off in it, a jury has heard.

The two were arrested following an anonymous tip-off to their victim’s husband, who had offered a reward for information on his business website – and have both been jailed for six years.

The two 30-year-olds, both of Donegal Close, Canley, Coventry, pleaded not guilty to robbing the woman of the vehicle, with Wright also denying having a bladed article.

But they were convicted after a judge at Warwick Crown Court allowed evidence of an identification to be used.

Prosecutor Rupert Jones said in April the victim drove to Crackley Lane in Kenilworth, at around lunchtime to take her two dogs for a walk.

After walking the two dogs, she cleaned them and put them into the back of the vehicle – and was just about to get in herself when two men approached her.

“They were walking towards her, and one of them asked her for money,” said Mr Jones.

“When she said she didn’t have any, he demanded the car key. He was holding a knife which he held towards her face.

“As a result, she was prepared to hand the key over, but asked to be allowed to get the dogs out first.”

The robbers agreed, and she took them out before handing over the key – and they also let her retrieve her phone before driving off, and she called her husband and then the police.

A few days later, after the police had been unable to find the Freelander, her husband used his business YouTube site to offer a cash reward for information.

The next day he had a response from someone who said he had information about the identities of the robbers, and when they met, he named the robbers as Turbitt and Wright.

The defendants were arrested at their homes, where clothing which matched that worn by the robbers was found.

The victim then attended the police station where she took part in identification procedures during which she picked out Wright as the man with the knife and Turbitt as the other robber.

After the jury returned their verdicts, Mr Jones said that Turbitt had a number of convictions for offences including burglaries and one for wounding, while Wright’s record was less serious, with convictions for theft and aggravate vehicle taking.

Mr Jones added as a result of her ordeal, the victim was now petrified of walking the dogs on her own.

Trevor Meegan, for Turbitt, said he had played a lesser role, while Matthew Barnes, for Wright, said

“the mitigating features of the dogs and the phone showed a degree of humanity”.

Jailing the two men, Recorder Watson told them: “I accept this particular vehicle was not targeted, but messages between the two of you demonstrate a plan to raise some money and a plan to get some wheels. There can be no other explanation for the two of you being in that area that day.

“I accept no-one touched her and there was no actual violence, and I accept there was some pause for her to retrieve her dogs and then her phone.”

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