Cambridgeshire

Coton burglars jailed for attack on wealthy couple in their 70s

John McCarthy, left and Richard Leslie Image copyright Cambridgeshire Police
Image caption John McCarthy, left and Richard Leslie, bound and beat their victims

Two men who tortured a couple in their 70s and stole goods and cash worth £20,000 have been jailed for 15 years.

John McCarthy, 35, of Cambridge, and Richard Leslie, 37, of south London, attacked the couple in Cambridgeshire in November 2014.

The duo were part of a gang of four who tied up and tortured the victims with pins and a sledgehammer at the couple's Coton home.

The Old Bailey heard them described as "every householder's worst nightmare".

After a retrial, the duo were found guilty of aggravated burglary and given a 15-year term with five years on extended licence.

Image copyright Cambridgeshire Police
Image caption The burglars stole silverware and jade ornaments, commemorative coins, gold bars, watches and cash

Four men dressed in forensic suits smashed their way into the house.

The owners were bound, beaten, threatened and locked up for more than four hours.

A sledgehammer was used to break one of the wife's toes and her husband was stuck with pins to extort more valuables, the court heard.

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Judge Richard Hone QC said at first the householders thought they were under attack from "alien invaders" or a "swat team".

The judge told them: "You are every householder's worst nightmare."

In mitigation, the court heard Leslie was involved in the burglary but was not inside the house.

Meanwhile McCarthy's behaviour was borne out of "personal difficulties".

'Targeted through taxi firm'

The two former cleaners were linked to Marc Smith, 43, from Cambridge, who admitted handling stolen goods.

The victims were targeted through Smith who previously worked for a taxi firm the couple used. His case was adjourned until 8 December.

Jacob O'Dell, 20, from Cambridge, who admitted sending malicious communications to a witness on Facebook last year was handed a two-year community order at an earlier hearing.

Other men involved in the burglary have never been caught.

Detective Inspector Alan Page from the Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire and Hertfordshire crime unit said it was a "despicable crime".

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