Vicious burglars jailed for 25 years for 'utterly terrifying' raid

Barry Sharp and Gary Thompson have been jailed for a total of 25 years.

Barry Sharp and Gary Thompson have been jailed for a total of 25 years. - Credit: Essex Police

Two burglars - including a Lowestoft man - have been jailed after subjecting a couple to a violent and "horrifying ordeal" in their own home.

Barry Sharp, 45, of Britten Road, Kirkley and Gary Thompson, 47, of Sidney Road, Ludlow, Shropshire have been jailed for a total of 25 years after raiding the home of a terrified Essex couple.

A couple in their 50s were subjected to the horrific aggravated burglary at their home in Halstead Road, Fordham on the morning on November 17, 2018.

Last week, Ipswich Crown Court heard that the woman living at the home had opened the door to the attackers who were wearing high visibility jackets, after believing them to be delivery drivers dropping off flowers.

They forced their way inside the home and shocked the woman with what was described as a stun device.

She was then threatened and the attackers demanded money before striking her on her head.

The woman then saw a third man come through the front door with her husband, who then had his head stamped on in the vicious assault.

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The husband was then shocked with a stun device before the pair had their hands tied with cable ties.

Ladders were then placed on top of the husband before the attackers fled taking money and jewellery.

After being arrested in May 2019, Sharp and Thompson denied conspiracy to commit aggravated burglary during a trial, but they were convicted by a jury by 11-1 majority verdicts at court last Thursday, May 12.

Judge Emma Peters said the offence had “destroyed” the lives of the victims as Thompson was jailed for 12 years and Sharp 13 years.

Sentencing Sharp, who was said to be the “organiser and instigator” of the raid, and his co-defendant Gary Thompson, the judge described the attack as “utterly terrifying".

Essex Police said the pair were caught following work by specialist officers.

A police spokesman said: "A tradesman, who had been carrying out some work in a commercial premises on the site, had witnessed the vehicles the men had arrived in – a Citroen Berlingo van – and was able to provide the registration number.

"CCTV identified a white BMW in company with the van shortly before the burglary took place.

"Officers were able to identify one of the registered keepers of the BMW was 45 year-old Barry Sharp, from Britten Road, Lowestoft.

"DNA matching another man, 47 year-old Gary Thompson, of Sidney Road, Ludlow, Shropshire, was found on the cable ties used to tie the wife."

Officers established that Thompson and Sharp had been in contact frequently in the days leading up to the burglary.

While Thompson’s DNA profile was found on cable ties used during the burglary, mobile phone cell site and ANPR (Automatic Number Plate Recognition) camera evidence linked Sharp to the offence.

Thompson chose not to give evidence during the trial while Sharp told the court he’d arranged to meet a friend for breakfast near Colchester but had got lost and by chance had been in the area of the bungalow where the burglary took place.

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Speaking after sentencing, Det Sgt David Crane, from Essex Police’s serious and organised crime unit, said: “Gary Thompson and Barry Sharp subjected their victims to a horrifying ordeal in their own home, inflicting an unimaginable level of violence.

“Nobody should be left fearful for their safety in their home.

“I am pleased that through meticulous detective work we have been able to identify Thompson and Sharp and ensure they now face the foreseeable future behind bars.

“I want to praise the victims for their bravery throughout this ordeal.

“I hope this conviction and sentencing will help them move forward.”