Jail appeal fails for ‘dreadful’ duo

PUBLISHED: 10:00 02 July 2015

Daniel Russell

Daniel Russell

Archant

TWO men who were jailed for a ‘truly appalling’ Weston crime spree which saw families terrorised in their own homes have failed in a bid to have their sentences reduced.

Joshua ShanahanJoshua Shanahan

Joshua Shanahan was sent to prison for 13 years and Daniel Russell ordered to serve 13 years and 10 months for a string of violent crimes which left victims ‘petrified’.

The spree began with two robberies – one on a taxi driver on March 16 and a second at a bookmakers nine days later.

Driver Paul Haughey was throttled and threatened to be strangled when he arrived at Dumfries Place in his taxi and two men – one of which was Shanahan – made off with money.

Mr Haughey was so traumatised he tried to take his own life the following month, which he partly attributed to the attack.

Little more than a week later, Shanahan and Russell terrorised staff at a Bournville estate betting shop, helping themselves to £1,750 after threatening workers with a machete.

Barely a month on from that incident, the pair were among a five-strong machete gang which stormed into the flat of Lou Walters, in Orchard Street.

Mr Walters was stripped of a £450 watch and other valuables as 23-year-old Russell sprayed lighter fuel over his head and face and threatened to ‘burn him up’ unless he handed over cash.

That same night, the gang struck again, forcing their way into a house in Pelican Close as a family settled down to watch football on TV.

The intruders strong-armed the householder into an upstairs bedroom where they forced him to hand over £1,000 in cash.

In November at Bristol Crown Court, Russell, of Beech Road, admitted two charges of aggravated burglary and one count of robbery, while 22-year-old Shanahan, of Marconi Close, pleaded guilty to two counts of robbery, two of aggravated burglary and intimidation.

However, the pair’s lawyers have since told the Appeal Court their sentences were too tough.

Shanahan’s legal team said he was ‘not the principal actor’ in the crimes, also pointing out he was ‘struggling with a drug problem’.

Russell urged the court to consider his remorse and psychological problems.

But Lord Justice Davis, sitting with Mr Justice Spencer and Judge Nicholas Cooke QC, rejected both men’s complaints, saying they richly deserved the length of the jail terms they had been given.

The pair’s crimes were ‘truly appalling’, said the judge.

He concluded: “We acknowledge that these were very severe sentences, but it must be borne in mind that these were very grave offences, and the facts were simply dreadful.”

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