Thug jailed for crime spree in stolen Audi

Runcorn & Widnes Weekly News - - Father Denies Stabbing Toddler, Two, In The Neck - BY OLIVER CLAY oliver.clay@trin­i­tymir­ror.com @Oliv­erClayRWWN

AVIOLENT thug who drove round Runcorn in a stolen car look­ing for vic­tims and com­mit­ted two ter­ri­fy­ing rob­beries has been caged for five years.

‘De­spi­ca­ble’ Thomas Ka­vanagh, 35, threat­ened to cut off one vic­tim’s arms and legs dur­ing a night of may­hem on Fe­bru­ary 11-12 this year af­ter he and co-de­fen­dant Thomas Quinn, 33, made off with a black Audi A5.

The car be­longed to good Sa­mar­i­tan Ian Hutchin­son who had given Ka­vanagh some­where to live af­ter a mar­riage break-up which had left Ka­vanagh home­less.

While Mr Hutchin­son slept, Ka­vanagh was out roam­ing in the Audi and com­mit­ting crime.

Karl Scholz, prose­cut­ing, re­vealed how Ka­vanagh first struck when res­i­dent Steven 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 quizzed him ‘where’s your money? Where’s your drugs? Where’s your phone?’, to which he replied he had none.

Ka­vanagh then ‘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 the 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 mo­tored away, and he sought help from some fire­fight­ers.

With Ka­vanagh ‘clearly’ again be­hind the wheel ac­cord­ing to CCTV, the Audi pulled up near a pub on High Street in Runcorn and Jonathon Roberts, who has Asperger’s was of­fered a lift home.

In­stead, the Audi headed to Halton Road.

The vic­tim was dragged out, pinned down, and hit four times in the face and twice in the stom­ach, caus­ing him to fear that ‘they would kill him’.

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 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.

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, noted his late guilty pleas, the rel­e­vant max­i­mum sen­tences, adding that his client is al­ready due to re­main in cus­tody.

Gareth Bel­lis, rep­re­sent­ing Ka­vanagh, 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 ‘fortu- nate’ 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 corob­ber who was never named, threat­ened them with tor­ture and mur­der.

“They both found it ab­so­lutely ter­ri­fy­ing.”

Out­stand­ing case charges are to lie on file.

Both de­fen­dants are of no fixed abode. ●

Rob­ber Thomas Ka­vanagh, 35

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