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BRUTAL GANG JAILED; Victim hit with crowbar in robbery.

Byline: Emma Denholm

THREE men have been jailed for a total of 27-and-a-half years and a juvenile given seven years' detention for their part in a brutal robbery at the home of a West Wales couple.

A packed public gallery with a heavy police presence marked the sentencing hearing at Swansea Crown Court of Bradley Clancy, 31, Michael Lash-Larbie, 25, Jordan Reinhardt, 29, and Ronnie Arnold, 17.

A fifth defendant, Ian Jenkins, 25, of Battersea, London, was not produced at the hearing and is due to be sentenced at a later date.

The court heard that the terrifying incident for which the men were jailed happened just after 10pm on October 11 last year when three men - Jenkins, Lash-Larbie and Arnold - burst into the home of 58-year-old Neil McDonald and his wife in Milford Haven.

Christopher James, prosecuting, said it was a "pre-meditated targeted robbery" where the men used disguises to conceal their identity.

The court heard that one of the men was described as wearing a plastic Halloween mask, and masks - which had been bought from a supermarket - were later found in a van recovered by police.

Mr James said that, once the men burst in, Mr McDonald was hit by one of the gang with a crowbar while another member had a "chair or table leg" in his hand and struck the victim with it. The court heard Mr McDonald fell to the floor and was subjected to "repeated heavy blows to his body".

"His wife, Joan, was terrified," said Mr James.

He added that she screamed for the three men who were beating her husband to leave.

Mr James said Mr McDonald then felt a "horrendous blow to his pelvic region" and saw a pool of his blood on the floor.

The court heard Mr McDonald was later referred to a consultant with a ruptured testicle and had to have it removed.

After the men left the house, Mrs McDonald called 999, the court was told. Mr James said blood spatter marks were on the floor and wall of the home and a safe containing money had been taken as well as a quantity of tobacco.

The court heard police later found PS8,790 in cash inside a car they recovered following the incident.

All five defendants were arrested following a police pursuit of a van and a BMW which were spotted travelling along the A40 just after 11pm that night.

Mr James described Clancy as the ringleader who had contacted the others in a "call to arms". The court heard the men travelled from London during the early hours of the morning ahead of the attack later that night.

In a victim personal statement, Mr McDonald said he no longer felt secure in his own home and his wife was "totally petrified".

Daniel Jameson, defending Clancy, explained the defendant "had been asked to recover a debt" from Mr McDonald. He said Clancy did not go inside the house and had not envisaged the level of force which would be used.

Ieuan Morris, defending Reinhardt, said his role was to be the "getaway driver".

He added that Reinhardt accepted responsibility for the robbery as "joint enterprise" and said the incident was out of character for him.

Benjamin Gordon, defending Lash-Larbie, said he "seeks to express genuine remorse" while, David Miller, defending Arnold, said he was "genuinely sorry and remorseful".

Judge Paul Thomas QC described the incident as "on any view a robbery of exceptional violence and brutality" which had terrified a couple in their 50s. He added that it involved violence of "animal ferocity" that had caused "serious deforming injury".

All men had pleaded guilty at an earlier hearing to robbery while Jenkins, Lash-Larbie and Arnold also pleaded guilty to wounding with intent.

Reinhardt, the driver in the incident, pleaded guilty to dangerous driving as well as to robbery.

At Friday's hearing, Clancy, of Wallington, Surrey, was jailed for nine years, Lash-Larbie, of Mitcham, for 10 years and Reinhardt, of Wallington, Croydon, for eight and a half years. Arnold, of Wallington, Surrey was given seven years' detention. Not guilty pleas in the case were ordered to lie on file.
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Publication:Wales On Sunday (Cardiff, Wales)
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:Feb 24, 2013
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