Trio sentenced for brutal robbery

A BICKER man was in a gang who savagely attacked a couple at an isolated farm in Frithville during a robbery has been sentenced to ten years in jail for the crime.

Andrew Waite, of Cemetery Road, stood alongside Lee Watkins, of Moira, Leicestershire and Lee Burton, of Hartshorne, in Derbyshire, as Judge Sean Morris told them they had committed ‘an appalling crime’, which was ‘committed out of greed.’

Waite, Watkins and Burton, who each received ten-year sentences at Lincoln Crown Court on Friday, were found guilty of conspiring to rob David and Loraine Elston at an earlier hearing.

The court was told that the gang hit Mr Elston, 56, across the back of the head with a baseball bat, leaving him with life-threatening injuries, and tied up his wife and beat her around the head. They stole just £200, a kitchen knife and a mobile phone.

All three admitted conspiracy to rob between June 20 and 27 2009.

Judge Morris told the trio: “This was an appalling crime. David Elston and his wife Loraine were good people. You have wrecked their lives. This was an offence committed out of greed. There is no excuse. It was just greed.

“You were lucky that Mr Elston was not killed or paralysed.

“This was professional, high grade criminality. This was meticulously planned.”

Steven Gray, defending Waite, 39, told the court that his client was outside in the getaway car when the attack took place and the violence went far beyond what he had expected.

Mr Elston, said after sentencing: “The day that this incident took place was the day I received a life sentence, for the events are constantly on my mind, from morning to night.

“The questions that go through my mind on a regular basis and which have never been answered by the persons responsible are why we were targeted in the first place and why we were assaulted?

“I am glad that some justice has been seen to be done.”

Mrs Elston has since died of an unrelated condition.

The judge commended police officers who had worked on the case.

Det Insp Martin Holvey said afterwards “I would like to thank all the prosecution team, especially the dedicated detectives who worked tirelessly on this case. Our thoughts are with the victims and we are saddened that Mrs Elston is not alive to see justice done today”.