It has been another busy month in Plymouth’s courts. A range of particularly violent crimes have been met with long prison sentences.
From savage attacks on police officers to possession of a gun, offenders have met justice and taken off the streets of Plymouth.
Some got months, where others got years, but now they are all where they belong.
Here is a round-up of thugs and other villians that won’t be missed for the next few months and years.
Dad shook his baby to death
Callous Lee Sweet shook to death his baby son because he could not cope with his crying.
He gripped six-month-old Ruben Sweet-Harris under his arm and shook him backwards and forwards so that he suffered catastrophic brain damage last May.
Ruben died three days later – having suffered injuries akin to a car crash.
Homeless Sweet had been entrusted to look after his happy, healthy son overnight at a shared house in Stuart Road by his on-off partner Aisha Sweet-Harris.
Sweet then spent the next 11 months lying about what he had done – putting Aisha and her family through more agony.
He denied murder but pleaded guilty to manslaughter.
A High Court judge jailed him for five years and four months.
Aisha and her family have since launched a campaign to increase the penalties for manslaughter.
They say that he will be released at the half-way point of his sentence, which will equate to about the time that Ruben would have started nursery.
Aisha has released heartbreaking pictures of “Roo” and a video of her baby the day before he died.
The family are to launch an online petition which will need 10,000 signatures to win a debate in Parliament.
They are also to start a Facebook page under the banner of Justice for Ruben.
Unemployed Sweet was questioned soon after the baby collapsed in his room at a shared house in Stuart Road, Stoke, in the early hours of May 28 last year.
He denied doing anything to the child and was not charged until this year – spending 11 months walking the streets and indulging in his love of playing pool.
Sweet was only interviewed and admitted what he did last month, when police had gathered expert medical evidence.
READ THE FULL STORY HERE
Ex-soldier used his combat training to attack two police officers
A burly former soldier has been jailed for partly ripping the nose from the face of a police sergeant and dislocating a constable’s knee.
Drunken David Bull, aged 37, launched a savage attack on the two officers after they stopped him drink-driving, a jury decided.
Bull, who is 6ft 4ins tall and 17 stone, used his combat skills but then blamed his Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder for the attack in Tavistock.
The former Royal Engineer put his fingers in the nostrils of Sgt David Clarke and pulled back his head before kicking PC Jenny Mashford in the knee – dislocating the joint and turning her leg through 90 degrees.
His Honour Mr Justice James Dingemans jailed Bull for seven years at Plymouth Crown Court.
He said: “These were assaults on public servants doing their best in very difficult circumstances.
“You inserted your fingers into his nostrils and attempted to gouge his eyes. The injuries on Sergeant Clarke involved his nose being partly ripped from his face.
“You kicked PC Mashford in the knee using your unarmed combat training in a way which immediately disabled her and took her to the ground.”
He added that Bull, who has served in Afghanistan and Iraq, was in a rage and so drunk that he could not recall much of the incident.
The Chief Constable of Devon and Cornwall, Shaun Sawyer, said after the trial that he was appalled by the attack.
Bull, now living in Luton in Bedfordshire but previously living in Tavistock, denied causing grievous bodily harm to the officers with intent in the early hours of April 12 last year.
He claimed he had a flashback at being in combat in the Sierra Leone jungle because of his PTSD and saw Sgt Clarke as “the enemy”.
The jury took about three and a half hours to reach unanimous verdicts on both counts, rejecting his claim as a smokescreen for his drunken, angry violence.
Smartly-dressed Bull sat emotionless in the dock as his watching mother wiped tears from eyes at the back of court. She later walked from the courtroom crying.
The jury heard over a three-day trial that Sgt Clarke and PC Mashford stopped Bull driving a Citroen without lights along Plymouth Road in Tavistock just after midnight.
READ THE FULL STORY HERE
Plasterer was caught with cannabis and a Colt revolver
The plasterer caught with an old revolver and cannabis plants in his home has been jailed for five years.
Neil Roots, aged 46, kept the Colt 38 in a drawer when he was raided by police, a court heard.
He claimed the weapon was an unworkable antique and told a jury it looked like something with a spaghetti western. Pictures show the gun has a rearing horse on its handle.
But he was found guilty of having an unlicensed firearm after a trial earlier this year.
Plasterer Roots had denied possession of a Colt 38 revolver at his Tavistock home on December 31, 2016.
He claimed that he found the gun down the back of a bookshelf – the weapon having been left by a previous tenant.
Roots said he was looking to sell it to a dealer.
Roots had previously pleaded guilty to growing 16 cannabis plants at his five-bedroom house in Greensway Road that same New Year’s Eve.
He was also sentenced for production of a Class B drug – 1.5 kilos found at the same time as the gun. The jury was told that the previous tenant had confirmed he had left the gun in the home when he left in 2011. He has not been charged with any offence.
The court heard the Colt could be used to fire modern ammunition despite its age. It is a defence to have a working firearm without a licence if it is an “antique, ornament or curiosity”.
Tough legislation to control gun crime stipulates a mandatory minimum sentence of five years for possession of an unlicensed firearm.
Judge Paul Darlow jailed him for that period, with no extra penalty for the drugs matter.
Roots receives no credit for guilty plea, having contested the firearms matter at trial.
READ THE FULL STORY HERE
Drug user made his loving grandparents’ lives a misery
The drug addict drove his loving grandparents to distraction and persuaded them to hand over the life savings for his heroin and cocaine.
Heartbroken couple James and Sandra Bingham were forced to call the police on the 33-year-old because he was making their lives a misery.
He regularly insulted and took advantage of them as they shared a small two-bedroom bungalow in quiet Newton Ferrers.
They dialled 999 and police used a recent law to prosecute him, eventually seeing him jailed for six months.
Mr Bingham, aged 68, and 70-year-old Mr Bingham, brought him up from the age of three months but saw him fall prey to drug addiction.
They handed over £37,000 to him over the years.
She said after the court case: “It was soul-destroying, it made us feel physically sick to know that he was spending our money on drugs.
“When we called the police, it was as if we were betraying our own. You felt a traitor. You felt guilty.”
Mrs Bingham said the couple still loved him and he would see him upon his release – but he was not getting any more money from them.
And they urged others trapped in controlling relationships to speak out and call the police.
The judge who jailed Whiffin for six months at Plymouth Crown Court called Whiffin “demanding and manipulative.”
Judge Peter Johnson said: “You were guilty of appalling, controlling, aggressive behaviour towards your grandparents. They have provided you with the best care you could possibly have. They have provided you with money.
“You essentially wore them down until they called the police. They need a break from you and they are going to get it.”
Whiffin said as he was taken away: “Thanks, it is what I needed anyway.”
Homeless Whiffin pleaded guilty to coercive and controlling behaviour within a relationship.
The law was only introduced only in 2015 and is more normally used for domestic abuse within sexual relationships. The offence usually attracts a prison sentence.
READ THE FULL STORY HERE
Thug sat on partner and broke her nose and teeth with punches
This thug repeatedly punched his girlfriend, fracturing her nose and breaking her teeth in what a judge called a “terrifying and brutal” attack.
Violent Maskell, aged 31, sat on the woman and struck her face – leaving his flat splattered in blood.
Maskell, who had been drinking, launched the attack when his partner and her sister decided to go home after a night out.
The women managed to escape but Maskell chased them into the street until he was restrained by a passer-by.
Jailing him for18 months, Judge Peter Johnson told Maskell: “You decided that you had some sort of right of ownership over her. You subjected her to a sustained, terrifying and brutal attack.
“You broke her nose and you fractured three of her teeth. You told a pack of lies after your arrest.”
Maskell, of Citadel Road, the Hoe, pleaded guilty to assault causing grievous bodily harm without intent on May 26.
Callous Maskell turned up the volume on the television set so that the neighbours would not hear the shouting.
He grabbed the woman around the throat to stop her leaving the flat.
The court heard that when the sister tried to intervene, the defendant bundled her from his home and locked the door.
Jason Beal, for the Crown Prosecution Service, said: “He dragged his partner to the living room, threw her on the floor and sat on top of her so she could not move. He started repeatedly punching her to the face with both fists and told her she was not leaving.”
He added that several rings on his fingers may have exacerbated her injuries.
Mr Beal said the woman suffered a broken nose, major swelling and bruising to her face, and three cracked teeth which had to be extracted.
READ THE FULL STORY HERE
Racist alcoholic attacked guard in cheese twist saga
Alcoholic thief Rupert Jones racially abused two workers and slapped one on the hand, a court heard.
The 57-year-old swung a punch at the security guard and was restrained until police arrived at the Notte Street branch.
He was still spouting racist filth when a constable came through the door, Plymouth Crown Court heard.
Jailing him for 12 months, Judge Paul Darlow said Jones had an “appalling record”.
He has 122 previous convictions for 214 offences – including 41 breaches of an Anti-Social Behaviour Order in six years.
Judge Darlow said: “I have no doubt that a further sentence of imprisonment will have no impact on you. You will emerge much the same. There is no community sentence available to you.
“Ultimately, if anything is to change, then that change will come from inside you.”
Jones, of Durnford Street, Stonehouse, pleaded guilty to racially-aggravated assault and racially-aggravated threatening behaviour on June 14.
He also admitted theft of food worth £5.45 from Tesco in Notte Street.
Jones finally pleaded guilty to breach of the ASBO.
Plymouth magistrates handed Jones a ten-year order in 2010.
He was banned from entering the city centre, from being drunk in public and from threatening members of the public.
READ FULL STORY HERE
Prolific burglar found passed out in pirate ship surrounded by loot
Plymouth’s most prolific burglar has been jailed for more than four years after he was found passed out in a pirate ship.
Police discovered career criminal William Butler lying in a children’s play park with his head resting on a slide, a court heard.
The cowardly 52-year-old roused himself, ducked under the ship, jumped over a fence and ran away from the officer, a jury was told.
Callous Butler left behind items stolen from a burglary only hours before – and a bank card and paperwork in his own name.
He was soon caught and put on trial at Plymouth Crown Court, where he was found guilty of burgling four homes and one count of aggravated vehicle taking.
Sentencing him to four years and three months for a string of offences, Recorder Paul Grumbar read statements from some of his victims.
One woman said that nine months on she felt that she would never feel safe in her own flat.
The judge said: “He seems to have spent a lifetime committing offences starting, I believe, when he was aged 11.”
Butler, also known as Broughton, was jailed for burglary in 2006, 2013 and 2015. On one spree he committed more than 30 break-ins.
He denied four burglaries and aggravated vehicle taking between April and November last year but then refused to attend his trial at Plymouth Crown Court. He also refused to leave his cell to be sentenced.
The trial head a police officer found Butler sleeping in Trefusis Park in Efford at about 9.45am on November 22. She was sent there because residents were worried about his condition.
Butler was on his back with his head hanging out of the pirate boat pointing down the slide.
The constable identified him by his bank card and paperwork lying around him in the name of William Butler. The career criminal roused himself and ran away.
But he left behind a voucher and pills in the name of the victim of a burglary in Stonehouse a few hours earlier.
READ THE FULL STORY HERE
Paedophile caught with hundreds of vile images is danger to children
A paedophile branded a danger to children has been locked up after he was caught with hundreds of vile images of children.
Twisted Richard Norsworthy, aged 25, had failed to face up to his perversion since his release from jail, a court heard.
He was jailed three years ago for grooming a boy and then sexually abusing him in a disused railway tunnel.
Norsworthy has now been handed another 18-month sentence at Plymouth Crown Court for having dozens of images showing children being abused.
Judge Paul Darlow said he did not accept Norsworthy’s claim that his perversion was “something beyond his control”.
He added: “You have been assessed by probation as posing a high risk of serious harm and that is something I would agree with.”
Norsworthy, of Hill Crest Mannamead, pleaded guilty to three counts of possession of 123 indecent images of children, including 39 in the most serious category.
He also pleaded guilty to having 255 prohibited images of children – usually vile and graphic cartoons.
Judge Darlow said that each of the ten movies downloaded by the defendant was itself made up of thousands of individual images.
Norsworthy was jailed for three years and four months for two offences including two counts of sexual activity with a boy at the same court in February 2015.
He gave the youngster cannabis and bought him gifts to groom him, the court heard.
Norsworthy then met the boy in a secluded railway tunnel to sexually abuse him.
The defendant was also caught with indecent images of children at the time. He has already been recalled to custody to serve part of that sentence.
READ THE FULL STORY HERE
Royal Navy sailor filmed girl in shower and lured teens into sex chat
A vile pervert has been caged for sexually assaulting a schoolgirl and filming her in the shower.
Royal Navy sailor Kevin McCarthy, aged 34, also persuaded another victim in her mid-teens to send indecent images of herself over the internet.
He pestered a third girl for similar pictures but she refused, Plymouth Crown Court heard.
Police alerted to his twisted chats uncovered a horde of indecent pictures on his devices at Devonport Naval Base.
Jailing him for four years and four months Judge Peter Johnson said: “You have an unhealthy interest in young girls. You took advantage of girls when they were at a particularly sensitive and vulnerable stage of their lives.
“You installed a camera in the shower and kept the image and further you went on to sexually assault her.”
The defendant admitted sexual assault, two counts of inciting a child into sexual activity and one count of voyeurism between June and November 2016.
McCarthy, now of no fixed address, also pleaded guilty to nine offences of making or possessing indecent images of children.
He denied two other offences of inciting a child into sexual activity and one of meeting a child following grooming. Those pleas were accepted by the prosecution.
READ FULL STORY HERE
Burglar off his head on drugs goes on wrecking spree
A burglar off his head on drugs smashed his way into a pub and a shop to get money for his habit.
Prolific thief Dale Chown, aged 29, also broke a window the same night amid a spree of offences under the influence of Valium.
He later told police that he could not recall most of his crimes.
Chown also took a motorcycle, attacked a security guard and stole from two shops, Plymouth Crown Court heard.
Jailing him for a total of 13 months, Recorder Jane Rowley told him: “These offences were committed under the influence of drugs and alcohol and while you were on licence. You have a significant record of previous offences.”
Chown, of Savage Road, Barne Barton, pleaded guilty to two counts of burglary and of taking a vehicle without consent.
He also admitted common assault and two counts of theft from a shop.
Chown finally pleaded guilty to causing criminal damage to a window.
He also asked for seven similar matters of theft between March and May to be taken into consideration.
Chown was jailed for a total of five years for offences including two home burglaries in May 2015. The parole board must decide at the end of his new sentence whether he is released or stays behind bars until 2020.
Sally Daulton, for the Crown Prosecution Service, said that Chown took a Yamaha motorcycle worth £1.300 from the garden of its owner in Monument Street, Devonport, on the night of May 19.
She added that the biker later found it in nearby Duke Street. It had been hotwired and Chown’s DNA was found on the ignition.
Miss Daulton said that the defendant was later caught on CCTV using a metal grille to try and smash the lock from the door of the nearby Routeways Centre.
The barrister added that he used the grille to smash a window.
Miss Daulton said Chown smashed another pane of glass to get into the Bristol Castle pub in Devonport that same night.
He took £160 in cash from the till and bottles of spirits and wine, the court heard.
Miss Daulton said that he used some kind of weapon in a bid to smash his way into the fruit machine.
READ FULL STORY HERE
Masked trio steal till in knifepoint raid on shop
Three masked thugs have been jailed for the terrifying late-night knifepoint robbery of a Plymouth convenience store.
Drug users Mark Barker, aged 34, Philip Hogan, aged 31, and 35-year-old Muhammed Rahman raided the shop in Devonport.
Rahman brandished a knife and wrestled with the lone male shop worker, Plymouth Crown Court heard.
The victim did not see the weapon but was left shaken up after his ordeal.
Jailing each man for three years and nine months, High Court Judge Justice James Dingemans said: “This is an example of the destruction caused by drugs in society. The victim was vulnerable and working alone at night. You obscured your identities and worked together as a group.”
All three men, living at the Salvation Army hostel in nearby Park Avenue, had earlier pleaded guilty to robbery at the shop on April 27 in Albert Road, Devonport.
Barker and Hogan have claimed that they knew nothing about the blade until it was pulled out.
Rahman further pleaded guilty to possession of a bladed article during the robbery.
He also admitted possession of a small lock knife when he arrested at the hostel three days later.
Kelly Scrivener, for the Crown Prosecution Service, said the trio, with their faces obscured, entered the store just after 10.30pm.
She added that Rahman demanded cash from the lone male shopkeeper and chased him around the till.
Miss Scrivener said that Rahman pulled out a knife, which he held in his hand pointed at the floor.
The court heard that the shopkeeper did not notice the weapon as he grappled with the robber.
The barrister said: “Rahman shouted, ‘Give us your money and your life will be spared’.
She added that Barker grabbed the till containing hundreds of pounds in cash and Hogan acted as look-out before all three men ran from the shop.
READ FULL STORY HERE
- Coronavirus live updates: NFL player tested positive for COVID-19, report says
- Coronavirus live updates: 22 million newly unemployed in 4 weeks
- Coronavirus live updates: 30,000 deaths in US
- Coronavirus live updates: Fremont requires residents to wear masks
- Exclusive Preview: People True Crime Stories - The Trial of O.J. Simpson
- Coronavirus live updates: SF tradition of honoring quake victims quietly continues
- Coronavirus live updates: Bay Area nursing homes hit hard
- Coronavirus live updates: California sends 50 ventilators to Michigan
- Coronavirus live updates: Contamination at CDC laboratory faulted for bad tests
- Coronavirus live updates: Federal government says $300 billion in stimulus relief coming this week
- The Dukes of Oxy: How a Band of Teen Wrestlers Built a Smuggling Empire
- Depression, Arrests and Rehab: Inside Heather Locklear's Darkest Days
- Putin’s Angels: Inside Russia’s Most Infamous Motorcycle Club
- Dead good! The 80 best true crime shows and podcasts – because there’s never been a better time to play armchair detective...
- Worst Roommate Ever
- Coronavirus news from the Bay Area: April 7-8
- Coronavirus news from the Bay Area: April 1-2
- Coronavirus news from the Bay Area: April 17-18
Jailed in June: Criminals who have been taken off our streets have 3634 words, post on www.plymouthherald.co.uk at June 30, 2018. This is cached page on Europe Breaking News. If you want remove this page, please contact us.