Sentences increased for farm raid thugs

Three men who robbed and terrorised a 76-year-old Shropshire farmer have had their jail sentences substantially increased by the Court of Appeal.

Daniel Jones, 21, of Aynesworth Green, Shrewsbury, Christopher Weaver, 18, of Queensway, and Matthew Anthony Wood, 19, of Noble Street, both in Wem, attacked farmer John Savage while he was in bed at Factory Farm, Loppington.

The three men woke Mr Savage late at night on 21 June last year by shining a torch in his face and demanded to know where his guns were kept.

When Mr Savage said he did not own any guns the raiders knocked him unconscious and stole £20 from his pocket.

They also stole his Ford Ranger vehicle.

Mr Savage said: “Not one day passes where I don’t think about what happened to me. I have been left angry by what has happened and disturbed that young people who committed this horrific offence have such empty lives that they have nothing better to do than steal and beat up an elderly man.”

Two days before the attack, two of the men – Mr Wood and Mr Weaver – were caught on CCTV stealing Mr Savage’s Mercedes 4×4. The pair had earlier also stolen two generators from his barn.

At Shrewsbury Crown Court Mr Wood and Mr Weaver admitted to the attack and a number of other crimes committed at other premises in the days leading up to the attack.

They received eight years and three months and seven years and 10 months respectively.

The third man, Mr Jones, who admitted the robbery, got six years and nine months.

But all three sentences were deemed too lenient and were challenged at London’s Appeal Court on 7 November by the country’s most senior law officer, the attorney general, Dominic Grieve QC, and three top judges.

The Court of Appeal increased Mr Wood’s overall sentence to 10-and-a-half years, while Mr Weaver’s term went up to nine-and-a-half years. Mr Jones’ sentence was raised to eight-and-a-half years.

Ruling their original sentences “unduly lenient”, Lady Justice Rafferty, sitting with Mrs Justice Thirlwall and Judge Andrew Gilbart QC, said the trio “went in mob-handed with weapons”, knowing Mr Savage was a vulnerable target, and had been in search of firearms.

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