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Three jailed for terrifying Holme Wood attack
8:00am Tuesday 20th August 2013 in News
A quick-thinking 83-year-old man used a screwdriver held in his mouth to raise the alarm after three robbers left him bound up in his own darkened bedroom during an early-hours attack.
Former electrician Thomas Gledhill feared for his life when he was confronted by a stranger as he slept in a sheltered housing complex in the Holme Wood area of Bradford.
Bradford Crown Court heard yesterday how Mr Gledhill had allowed Abad Mahmood to stay at his home, but in the early hours he turned up at the address with an unknown male.
Prosecutor Michael Greenhalgh said the pensioner went back to bed, but the next thing he knew a man had come into his room saying ‘Give me your arms’.
Mr Greenhalgh said the victim initially assumed it was a joke, but the man, who turned to be 36-year-old Mark Swain, said he was not kidding and threatened to kill Mr Gledhill if he did not put his arms behind his back.
The court heard how Mr Gledhill was forced onto the floor and struggled for breath as his hands were tied behind his back with a piece of electrical cable. “Not surprisingly, Mr Gledhill described feeling terrified at this point and stayed in his bedroom as per the instructions given to him,” said Mr Greenhalgh.
Mr Gledhill remained in his darkened bedroom until he thought it was safe to move.
The court heard that despite being bound up by his wrists the pensioner managed to pick up a screwdriver in his mouth and use it to activate an alarm button in his home.
Swain, 37-year-old Mahmood and 47-year-old Thomas Trudgill stole electrical items from the pensioner’s home including a television, a hi-fi system and a camera during the attack in May, but police officers soon spotted the trio drinking from a stolen bottle of whisky not far from Mr Gledhill’s property.
Trudgill had the stolen camera in his pocket and other electrical items were found stashed under a duvet behind some bins.
Swain, of Mornington Villas, Manningham, Bradford, accepted he had tied up the pensioner and pleaded guilty to the robbery charge at his first appearance before the crown court.
Recorder of Bradford Judge Roger Thomas QC said Swain’s very early guilty plea meant he would get the largest reduction on his jail term and he was sentenced to six years.
Mahmood, of Buchan Towers, Radwell Drive, Bradford, pleaded guilty last week. Trudgill, of no fixed abode, only admitted his part in the joint enterprise on the day of trial yesterday.
They were both jailed for six years and nine months.
The court heard that all three men had long histories of previous convictions, but Judge Thomas said the robbery was by some distance the most serious matter had they had ever had to be sentenced for.
The judge said Mahmood had become friendly with Mr Gledhill who was a diabetic.
Judge Thomas said he had seen a recording of Mr Gledhill’s police interview and he was clearly an intelligent and resourceful man, but even for him the incident had been utterly terrifying.