Saturday, 4 September 2010
£1m hole-in-wall gang given lenient sentences
Twelve members of a teenage gang known as the Terror Zone' who netted almost £1 million in an “extraordinarily professional” 12-month spree of violent security van raids have been given lenient sentences and even praised by the judge.
The youths, aged as young as 15 and many still living at home with their parents, were robbing vans delivering money to cash machines at the rate of two a month in 2008.
They punched and kicked security staff as they stole £817,000 in robberies across London and Surrey in under a year, making off with £110,000 in cash in one raid alone.
And police believe that they were responsible for twice as many raids as the 19 they were charged with, taking their proceeds to well over £1 million.
The gang, who came to believe they were “invincible”, planned raids meticulously and hurled the metal cash boxes from the top of tower blocks to crack them and open.
They then laundered the cash, which was stained with security dye, via station ticket machines, Kingston Crown Court heard.
The group, then mostly aged 17 and 18 and mainly from Mitcham, south London, spent their takings on luxury cars, plasma TVs, designer clothes and electrical gear, prostitutes and meals at West End restaurants.
At Kingston Crown Court ringleader Ashley Thompson, 19, his henchman Joel Spears, 22, Ashley Nevers, 18, Rhys Copas, 20, and Kyle Stewart, 19, all pleaded guilty to conspiracy to rob.
Loren Fejziu, 19, Nathan Clarke-Grayson, 20, Cassisus Trotman-Wilson, 19, and a 16-year-old, who cannot be named for legal reasons, all pleaded guilty to taking part in raids.
Three other gang members - Sean Fofanah, Mandala Washington and Dexter Francis, all 17, were previously sentenced after admitting their part in the robberies.
Fejziu took part in one raid while on bail awaiting an Old Bailey trial for his part in 60-strong armed street fight between Terror Zone and a rival gang that led to 16-year-old Eugene Attram being stabbed to death.
Judge Shani Barnes (black?) told them: “Had it not been a criminal enterprise, this was one of the most impressive, well-organised series of events that I have seen in a long time.”
Thompson received seven years, Spears six years, Ashley Nevers three years, Rhys Copas two and a half years, Kyle Stewart two years, Fejziu two and a half years, Clarke-Grayson two years and Trotman-Wilson two and a half years.
The 16-year-old walked from court after being given a two year supervision order.
Fofanah, Washington and Francis had already been locked up for seven, three and two years respectively.
The gang were arrested in August 2008. Nevers was found to have over 100 pairs of designer trainers, Fejziu a 50-inch plasma TV and Spears two brand new VW Golfs and £4,000 in cash.
In his police interview, Thompson was asked where all the money was and claimed it had all been spent on cars, stupidness, brothels, food, going to eat in posh restaurants in the West End'.
As is typical in media reporting of cases like this, the original article claims they were given "40 years" which is extremely misleading. The eight youths sentenced received an average of 3.4 years, and no doubt they will only serve half this time and get out on good behaviour. This is a disgrace to the criminal justice system. The punishment bears no resemblance to the size and scale of the theft and violent nature of the crime. It's not surprising therefore that ethnic minority gang crime is rising across the UK.
These lot should of been rounded up and shipped out to a remote penal colony island somewhere where they should of been made to do 10 years hard labour with no chance of parole.
The reason why we have so much crime like this is because the sentences are so lenient and that is because of the cost and shortage of prison spaces.
It's time the UK started to re-thinking its justice system and approach to criminal punishment. The fact is UK prisoners get an easy life compared to other countries. They should be forced to do unpaid daily hard labour and pay their way through punishment which would help the economy.
What kind of judge praises criminals in any way shape or form. That just defies belief. This together with the leniency of the sentences, I would question whether this person is fit to sit as a judge at all.
This article summarises all that's wrong in Britain today. I blame the useless spineless politicians.
Source: London Evening Standard