An odd job man who attacked and robbed an elderly war veteran and his wife two days before Christmas has been sentenced to 10 years and eight months in prison, Grimsby Crown Court has heard.
“Despicable coward” Harley Newland, 22, of River View, Mill Lane, Brigg, savagely attacked Eric and Joyce Davey in their Scunthorpe home and robbed them at gunpoint of £6,000 in cash.
Newland pleaded guilty to grievous bodily harm, grievous bodily harm with intent, robbery and possession of an imitation firearm.
Following sentencing on Monday, May 18, CPS Yorkshire and Humberside crown advocate Jeremy Evans said: “I have rarely dealt with a case of such shocking callousness and brutality. This was no opportunistic crime committed by a stranger. It was carefully and cynically pre-planned.”
Mr Evans said Newland was already familiar to the couple as an odd job man so that when he arrived at their house with a cheery wave and bearing a Christmas gift bag, they had no concerns about inviting him in for a chat and a cup of tea.
“What happened next was horrific. Without warning, Newland brutally assaulted first Mr Davey and then his wife,” Mr Evans said.
Newland stole £6,000 from them before making off, after having spent nearly three hours in their home.
He left both with appalling injuries and Mr Evans said it was “only by great good fortune” that the attack was not fatal.
He said: “The psychological trauma they have experienced will take a long while to heal.
“The victims of this crime are a loving elderly couple, living quietly and independently.
“What is most remarkable about this appalling case is their courage, dignity and resilience.
“They have demonstrated, in their brave determination to put this incident behind them, a spirit and courage which is quite remarkable.
“They are so much stronger than the despicable coward who, motivated solely by greed, abused their trust, and robbed and attacked them.
“I hope that this knowledge, the support of their family, and the sentence handed down to their attacker today, will help them continue on their road to recovery.”
On sentencing, Mr and Mrs Davey said it was a “miracle” they survived the attack.
They said: “This was a vicious assault and robbery on us, an elderly couple, in our own home and committed by someone who was not unknown to us.
“It is a miracle that we survived our wounds and injuries and it is our belief that we were not meant to.
“Our physical wounds have, for the most part, now healed thanks to the excellent treatment and care administered by the NHS staff at Scunthorpe General and The Diana, Princess of Wales Hospital in Grimsby.
“We are very grateful for all that was done for us.”
The couple said their recovery from the effects of the mental trauma would take time but had been eased by the support from the local community services and the kindness of people in general.
They said: “Thank you to all concerned.”
“This incident should serve as a timely reminder that the elderly are especially vulnerable to perpetrators of crime and, unfortunately, it is necessary to be on guard at all times and be especially careful about who we open the door to,” the couple said in a statement.