Robber threatened to ‘cut off’ insomniac’s arms and legs after he went for a late night stroll
A violent robber drove around Runcorn in a stolen car looking for victims
“Despicable” Thomas Kavanagh, 35, even threatened to cut off one victim’s arms and legs during a night of mayhem on February 11-12.
Kavanagh and co-defendant Thomas Quinn, 33, stole a black Audi A5 belonging to good Samaritan Ian Hutchinson who had given Kavanagh somewhere to live after he split with his wife and became homeless.
“Threatened to cut his arms and legs off”
Karl Scholz, prosecuting, revealed how Kavanagh carried out the first robbery when Stephen Gordon had gone for a walk at about 4am on Thorn Road, something he often did because of trouble sleeping.
Mr Gordon, who would sometimes be stopped by unmarked police cars on his night walks, first thought a black Audi A5 that pulled up was the police.
Two men were in the car with Kavanagh behind the wheel.
The victim was invited into the car, where he was grabbed by the passenger who he could not identify.
The doors locked and the car sped off towards Grangeway where his abductors demanded: “Where’s your money? Where’s your drugs? Where’s your phone?”
He told them he had none so Kavanagh ‘threatened to cut his arms and legs off’ and ‘take him to the woods and would cut and shoot him’.
Mr Gordon, who had lost the sight in one eye 15 years ago in an assault, was ‘terrified’.
The car reached Festival Way, where their victim was restrained and punched, suffering a cut, bruising and swelling, and had his phone stolen.
He was dumped on the street as the Audi drove away, and he sought help from some firefighters.
“Honking the car horn as if in celebration”
The Audi pulled up near a pub on High Street in Runcorn and Jonathon Roberts, who has Asperger’s, was offered him a lift home. He got in but was driven in the wrong direction.
He was later dragged out, pinned down, and hit four times in the face and twice in the stomach, causing him to fear he would be killed.
The robbers took his phone, wallet and driving licence, before driving away – Kavanagh even ‘honking the car horn as if in celebration’.
At around 5am, Mr Hutchinson, whose car Kavanagh was driving, received a bank text saying his card withdrew cash in Manchester.
He discovered his car and keys missing, so he sent texts to Kavanagh saying he would call the police.
Brazen Kavanagh turned up with the car at noon, albeit with the vehicle now with tyre, wheel and tracking damage.
Police arrived at the flat as Quinn was leaving down the stairs, and they discovered Kavanagh inside.
Kavanagh later pleaded guilty to two counts of robbery.
Quinn admitted taking a vehicle without consent and fraud over using the bank card to withdraw £100 from a cash machine.
“Night of madness”
The offences were committed only two days after Quinn was released on licence from serving half of a five-year stretch for two robberies.
Paul Abrahams, defending Quinn, of no fixed abode, said his client is already due to remain in custody.
Gareth Bellis, representing Kavanagh, also of no fixed abode, said his client had become involved in a ‘night of madness’ because of a gambling problem after a long period of time without offending.
Kavanagh had also raised £500 to offer in compensation, and pleaded guilty.
Recorder Andrew Long sentenced Kavanagh to five years in prison and Quinn to three months.
He told Quinn he had ‘come close to involving yourself in some very serious crime’ and was ‘fortunate’ to be sentenced for taking a vehicle and card fraud.
Sentencing Kavanagh he said: “You had been out of trouble and were in a downward spiral.
“Today unfortunately is the bottom of that spiral. These were serious robberies.
“You used a stolen car. You lured your victims into the car, you abducted them, you and your co-robber who was never named, threatened them with torture and murder.
“They both found it absolutely terrifying.”