Judge branded Leicestershire man ‘wicked’ after he was found guilty and given life in prison for the murder of 87-year-old pensioner Arthur Gumbley.
At Stafford Crown Court today (22 March) Jason Wilsher was told he would spend a minimum of 33 years in prison.
The 20-year-old was also convicted of conspiracy to commit robbery. He was given a further 16 years which will run alongside the 33-year sentence.
Judge Michael Chambers, who sentenced Wilsher said: “To target the elderly is truly wicked. This was the senseless murder of an 87-year-old man.”
After the violent burglary, on 21 November 2017, at his home in Endwood Drive, Little Aston, Staffordshire, Mr Gumbley died from his injuries. His attackers got away with jewellery from the property.
Mr Gumbley gave an interview to police but sadly his condition deteriorated and he died on 12 December 2017. His injuries included carpet burns, extensive bruising, a detached rib and skin ripped from the back of his hand.
The offenders ransacked all the rooms in the bungalow during the burglary. They went as far as to pull out drawers and upturn beds.
The jury heard that a DNA sample was found on a drawer handle in Mr Gumbley’s bedroom which matched Wilsher.
Mr Gumbley’s family, who have asked for their privacy to be respected at this time, released the following statement:
“We would like to thank Staffordshire Police for their hard work and persistence that went in to the investigation of the murder of our father.
“If they had not been so thorough in their investigation, together with the barristers Mr Hallam QC and Mr Price, then the jury would not have been able to arrive at the decision that they did.
“We now have justice for the murder of our dad and we can move forward with our lives. Thank you to everyone.”
The investigation by Staffordshire Police’s Major and Organised Crime department, which was led by Detective Chief Inspector Dan Ison, began to track down those responsible.
The team went as far as to organise televised appeals which included a slot on the BBC’S Crimewatch Roadshow.
DCI Ison said: “This was a despicable crime and the injuries sustained by Arthur were brutal and horrific.
“Our thoughts remain with Arthur’s family. We are grateful for their assistance in helping us to bring this prosecution to a successful conclusion.
DCI Ison described the investigation as complex and far-reaching.
“It was months of hard work that identified him and it is startling that the science of DNA proves effectively that Wilsher is the only man in Europe who could’ve contributed to the sample found at Arthurs home.”
A four-month study of CCTV found a blue Mazda RX8 in the area of the burglary and at further offence in Derbyshire.
This second offence was on 25 November 2017. Three masked men knocked on the door of a farmhouse north of Mansfield.
The occupant, 82-year-old Dennis Taylor, was confronted by the men who forced their way inside. Mr Taylor was then assaulted, the attackers demanded to know where his money was kept.
Mr Taylor’s head was repeatedly struck on a hearth and he was hit with a baseball bat. A knife was also pushed through his lip, before the men ransacked his house. They made off with jewellery and £800 in cash.
Judge Michael Chambers announced in court on 11 March that he had given Dennis Taylor the High Sherriff’s award for his bravery in fighting back against his attackers and attending court to give evidence in the case.
DCI Ison also stated: “I’d also like to thank the public for their support, and recognise the courage demonstrated by Dennis Taylor in giving evidence, that has put Wilsher where he belongs – behind bars.”
The Mazda linking the two offences was found burnt out in a country lane on 25 November. Detectives found out it had been sold privately in London.
An alias of ‘John Smiff’ had been given. However, Wilsher’s address of Barlestone Road, Bagworth, Leicestershire was written on the V62 document.
DCI Ison added: “It’s the result of good old-fashioned policing. Detectives worked meticulously and doggedly to trace the car and then work through thousands of hours of CCTV and phone records and questioning to be able to arrive at Wilsher as a suspect.
“The investigation into the outstanding individuals responsible for Arthur’s death continues.”