£200k rob­bery gang face jail

Trio guilty of break-in at pen­sioner’s home

Dumfries & Galloway Standard - - NEWS - Bert Hous­ton

Three men who broke into the home of a 76-year-old pen­sioner and stole more than £200,000 have been told they could face lengthy prison terms.

The warn­ing from Sher­iff Brian Mo­han at Dum­fries came at the end of a six-day trial at which a jury — by a ma­jor­ity — found 51-year-old Colin Clark guilty of the break-in and theft at Carnegie Street in the town last Septem­ber.

His son Conor Clark, 23, who, like his fa­ther, lives at Kel­ton on the out­skirts of the town, and 23-yearold Aaron Gem­mell, of Ste­wartry Court, Dum­fries, had pre­vi­ously pleaded guilty to the break-in and theft which also in­volved 3,000 Amer­i­can dol­lars and a £20,000 Rolex watch.

Sher­iff Mo­han told all three that it was ev­i­dent that the crime had been pre-planned.

De­fer­ring sen­tence for a month, he called for back­ground re­ports on Gem­mell and Conor Clark.

All three were re­manded in cus­tody.

Dur­ing the six days of the trial only Colin Clark was in the dock as the jury of nine women and six men heard how re­tired joiner Adam Wa­tret made a daily check on his home while re­cu­per­at­ing from an op­er­a­tion, stay­ing with his brother.

He had with­drawn £200,000 from the bank five years ear­lier and kept it in a large safe in the wardrobe of his bed­room with the cash, mainly £100 notes, sealed and hid­den un­der other items.

But on a check last Septem­ber he found his two safes both open and the cash gone along with other items in­clud­ing a Rolex watch for which he had paid £20,900.

He de­scribed his feel­ings: “Gut­ted … heart­bro­ken.”

Po­lice of­fi­cers de­scribed how they made a break­through within a week when they learned Conor Clark had been try­ing to sell a Rolex watched for £6,000 in An­nan.

Cops also traced pur­chases in which £100 notes had been used in cash pay­ments, all of which led to a search of the Clark home at Kel­ton where two tins each con­tain­ing more than £30,000 in £100 notes were found in the at­tic.

Dur­ing his ev­i­dence Colin Clark de­tailed how he was a carer for his mother at Kel­ton and stayed there with his son Con­nor.

De­scrib­ing his move­ments on the night be­fore the rob­bery, he said he car­ried out an elec­tri­cal job for a friend at Grey­stone Av­enue, near Carnegie Street.

He had then gone to the Bar­racuda Club for about two hours be­fore go­ing home to change ahead of vis­it­ing a 43-year-old woman at Crathie Av­enue about 9.30pm, re­main­ing there un­til he re­turned home about half past mid­night.

Clark said there had been a threat to his son on so­cial me­dia fol­low­ing a break up in a re­la­tion­ship which he took “very se­ri­ously”.

While his son Conor and his friend Aaron Gem­mell went to Kingholm Quay where they be­lieved the per­son re­spon­si­ble for the threat lived, he de­cided to check the area around his home.

He claimed he spent about two hours check­ing the river­side path, trails and nearby fields.

On his way home he met the two younger men and gave them a lift in the car.

The jury was out for about three be­fore re­turn­ing the ma­jor­ity guilty ver­dict.

Ad­mis­sion Aaron Gem­mell

Found guilty Colin Clark

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