Shropshire

Man jailed for 'vicious' robbery in Lower Rudge

Nathan McDonald
Image caption McDonald pleaded guilty to robbery and owning an imitation handgun

A man has been jailed for nearly 10 years for his part in an armed robbery in Shropshire in which a couple were tied up and beaten in their home.

Nathan McDonald, 22, of Merridale Street West, Wolverhampton, was one of three masked men who broke into a house in Lower Rudge on 9 March.

Shrewsbury Crown Court heard they tied up Richard Barnfather, 48, and his partner Deborah Leadbetter, 37.

McDonald admitted robbery and was jailed for nine years and eight months.

He also admitted possessing an imitation handgun.

Couple praised

West Mercia Police said Mr Barnfather and Miss Leadbetter, who had jewellery and three cars stolen during the raid, needed hospital treatment after the attack.

Following sentencing, Mr Barnfather said: "It's disrupted our lives tremendously since the incident.

"The physical scars have healed now, but then obviously we've got the psychological scars that are still there."

The men stole jewellery worth about £350,000, as well as an Aston Martin, Range Rover and Mercedes.

West Mercia Police said two other men arrested in the Wolverhampton area in connection with the attack earlier this year had been released from their bail.

'Substantial means'

It said a 23-year-old man from Wolverhampton arrested on Tuesday on suspicion of conspiracy to rob had also been bailed.

The force is still offering a £14,000 reward for information about the other two men who carried out the attack.

Sentencing McDonald, Judge Robin Onions described the late-night robbery as "the stuff of nightmares".

During his sentencing remarks, the judge told McDonald: "It seems clear that, armed with knowledge acquired through valeting, you knew Mr Barnfather was a man of substantial means.

"This was planned, targeted and professional offending."

Det Insp Mark Bellamy, from West Mercia Police, praised the couple for their bravery and patience.

"This was a particularly vicious attack on a couple in their own home," he said.

"The long prison sentence imposed on McDonald, sends out a clear message that those who resort to violent crime, can expect little sympathy from the courts."

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