'Brutal' ordeal robbers sent to jail for total of 23 years
THE two armed robbers who subjected Peter Roycroft to a "brutal" ordeal in his home were yesterday handed jail terms totalling 23 years.
Jamie Staite was the catalyst when he and Dean Cotter burst into Peter Roycroft's home, slashed him with a machete and tied and gagged him before stealing his Mercedes car.
Bristol Crown Court was told Staite had been a friend of Mr Roycroft's son, Andrew, and claimed to be chasing up a debt.
Staite and Cotter had already broken into a Clifton home and stolen a car before driving to Weston- super-Mare and carrying out the attack on Mr Roycroft.
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Staite, 22, of Wellington Court in Ashley Road, St Paul's, pleaded guilty to burglary and robbery.
Cotter, 24, who was living at the same address, pleaded guilty to burglary but denied robbery and was convicted after a trial.
Judge Michael Longman jailed Staite for seven years and handed Cotter 13 years, with a three-year extended licence period.
He told the men: "This was mean in conception and brutal in execution.
"Dean Cotter held a machete close to Mr Roycroft's face and before you left with his property he was tied up with tape and his own clothing.
"He was able to free himself but such behaviour must have added to the fear he felt.
"Jamie Staite, it was a particularly mean offence and you played an important part in its planning."
Mr Roycroft, who is seeking compensation from the Criminal Injuries Board, told the Post: "I think they were treated more generously than they deserved.
"Jamie Staite was the one who was the instigator. Without him there wouldn't have been a robbery at my home. I can understand him wanting to avoid a prison sentence, but for him to claim remorse is an insult to the intelligence."
George Threlfall, prosecuting, said the men broke into a house while the owners were away on holiday abroad. Stolen in the raid, as well as a blue and gold brooch later recovered from Staite's flat, was a machete and tape used by heating engineer Mr Walker and the family car, the court heard.
Mr Threlfall said that the men, along with a third unknown accomplice, then drove to Mr Roycroft's home in Saville Crescent, Weston- super-Mare, and burst into his bedroom as he slept.
The court heard the machete was held 12 to 18 inches from Mr Roycroft's face, as the balaclava-clad robber made more demands for money as well as his PIN number.
The judge clarified he was satisfied, from the evidence, Cotter was the machete man.
Once the raiders had fled, Mr Threlfall said: "Mr Roycroft managed to get his hands free. He saw his neighbour's kitchen light on and he banged on their door.
"His neighbour described him standing there, bleeding, with a swollen eye, in his pants and socks, covered in tape. They took him in and the police were telephoned."
Police spotted the stolen Mercedes in Stokes Croft and gave chase before it crashed in Dalrymple Road, St Paul's, near the men's hostel. The men escaped, but were caught later.
Staite, who was in breach of a curfew when he went out that night, had souvenir snaps of a balaclava-clad Cotter, holding a machete, on his mobile phone.