Robbery gang left restaurant owner ‘traumatised’ after revenge attack

Sheffield Crown Court
Sheffield Crown Court
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FOUR men have been jailed for more than 30 years after a revenge robbery left a Sheffield restaurant owner “traumatised”.

The men had hid in the owner’s garden, waiting for him to return home from work at BBs Italian Restaurant, in Division Street, before forcing their way inside and subjecting his to a “nasty attack”.

Jeroham Julian Duncan, 23, of Stannington, Ashley Phillip Murray, 24, of Firth Park, Jamal Ato, 21, of Gleadless Valley and Jason Andrew Wood, 27, of Batemoor, were sentenced at Sheffield Crown Court last week for the attack in September last year.

Duncan was also sentenced for burglaries that saw more than £50,000 in goods and cars stolen across Sheffield.

Three of the men, Duncan, Murray and Ato, initially followed the victim home from work on September 24, knocking on his door, claiming to be police officers. The victim asked the offenders to come to the back door to see who they were but instead they left.

The three, this time joined by Wood, returned to the victims’ home the following night at about midnight, where they hid in the back garden, waiting for him to come home.

When the victim arrived home from work, the four men forced their way inside the house, punching and kicking him.

They demanded money before stealing £80 and grabbing a phone from his wife who was upstairs in bed, trying to call the police.

The motive for the attack lay with Ato - whose father, who had worked at BBs, had a disagreement with the owner.

Detective Constable John Bowerman said: “This was a nasty, planned attack which was highly traumatic for the victims.

“We believe on the first occasion, the group had planned their attack and had the victim not asked to see some identification, he would have been attacked.

“Ato’s father briefly worked at the restaurant and after quitting his position there following a disagreement with the owner, the robbery happened at Ato’s instigation to try and get revenge for his father.

“A robbery is extremely invasive and traumatic for the victims involved. I am pleased that all four defendants have been held accountable for this offence.”

The stolen phone was later recovered following a search at Duncan’s house. Both Duncan and Murray pleaded guilty to the robbery but Ato and Wood were found guilty after a seven-day trial.

Ato was sentenced to eight years imprisonment for robbery.

Wood was also sentenced to eight years for robbery, as well as two months for the possession of cannabis.

Murray pleaded guilty to robbery and was sentenced to nine years and eight months.

Duncan, who pleaded guilty to robbery, also pleaded to seven charges of conspiracy to commit burglary and was sentenced to seven years and eight months in prison. Between 26 May and 27 September 2014, Duncan stole a total of £53, 928 worth of goods from properties across Sheffield, including four cars.

A fifth offender, Daniel Lee Hancock, 26, of Norton, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit three burglaries with Duncan and Murray in the Ranmoor and Totley areas of Sheffield. He was sentenced to two years and nine months.