Decorator Matthew Robson beat terrified builder over debt
A MAN was lured to his front door in the middle of the night and viciously beaten in front of his terrified wife and son.
Builder Christopher Gardner was told his brother Ray was at the door but was confronted by two hooded men who pushed him inside and repeatedly beat him around the head.
A terrified Mr Gardner had no idea who his assailants were until painter and decorator Matthew Robson removed his mask and demanded money he was owed.
As Mr Gardner sat bleeding in his hallway Robson said he would be back every week until he got the money.
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Mr Gardener's wife was so terrified by the attack that she could not speak to police after ringing 999.
Robson, 30, of HMP Bristol, pleaded guilty to burglary at the home in Bedminster Down and was jailed for five years at Bristol Crown Court. His accomplice remains unidentified.
At court on Tuesday Kenneth Bell, prosecuting, said: "This was a very serious and frightening offence.
"It was at night, at his home in front of his wife and son and it was premeditated as we know the motive for the attack.
"Mr Gardener was covered in blood, his face was swollen and there was blood all over the carpet."
Mr Bell said Robson had carried out the beating at 12.30am on February 18 this year because he was owed £4,000 by Mr Gardener, who had paid off £14,000 of £18,000 he owed.
"When Mr Gardener answered the door he was pushed into his home and saw a large black shadow come straight towards him," Mr Bell said.
"He describes himself as being struck to the head, sent down to his knees and then struck to the head over and over again.
"He didn't know who was doing this to him. He panicked and thought he was going to be killed. He was shouting 'Who is this?' as blows continued to be rained down on him. He then heard a voice say 'I want my money, you owe me money'."
Mr Bell said one of the attackers followed Mr Gardner's son upstairs and he realised he had to act.
"He said he heard his wife and son screaming," Mr Bell said.
"He realised he had to protect his family. He managed to get to his feet and asked who they were again and Robson removed his hood and revealed himself. He said he wanted his money and would be back every week until he got it."
Mr Bell said Mr Gardener suffered a broken nose, swelling, bruising and cuts to his face, as well as the "great psychological effect" on the family.
The court heard that in 2006 Robson had been jailed for six years for a vicious revenge attack – again with an accomplice – on a love rival which resulted in the victim sustaining a broken jaw, nose and eye socket.
Jason Taylor, defending, said Robson was genuinely remorseful for his actions and did not seek to blame anybody else for what he had done.
He said since his last prison sentence Robson had turned his life around and started a very successful painting and decorating business that started to struggle.
"He knew who owed them money and felt pressurised to get that money," Mr Taylor said. "He drank throughout the afternoon and the evening and did what he did. His recollection is extremely hazy because of how much he had drank.
"The fact he took his hood off and would never get away with it shows how irrational his behaviour was."
Mr Taylor said Robson pleaded guilty because he wanted Mr Gardener to realise he would not put him through a trial.
Jailing Robson the recorder Mr Ben Compton QC, said: "It was absolutely gratuitous violence, with a sense of cruelty that's hard to imagine in their own home."