Machete attack - Masked gang tied up pensioner

PUBLISHED: 07:00 11 June 2012

Dean Cotter

Dean Cotter

Avon and Somerset Police

THIS is a picture of the ‘dangerous offender’ who broke into a terrified pensioner’s house, tied him up and attacked him with a machete – ‘for a laugh’.

A violent, masked gang burst into Peter Roycroft’s Weston home while he slept last December, hit him over the head as he stirred and bound his mouth, arms and feet with tape.

While he lay unconscious the raiders then cut the phone line and one of the gang, Dean Cotter, slashed the pensioner’s leg with the machete he is pictured holding here.

As Mr Roycroft came round Cotter wielded the same weapon in the father-of-four’s face, demanding his PIN number for his bank card and telling him he would return and kill him if he gave them the wrong code.

A third man, who police are still trying to identify, is said to have then waved an 8in knife at the petrified pensioner while he lay in his bed.

Accomplice, Jamie Staite, who had been a friend of Mr Roycroft’s son Andrew and knew the grandfather lived alone, kept away from the room once his victim was conscious, for fear of being identified.

The gang rifled through Mr Roycroft’s belongings at about midnight while he lay bound and gagged in his bed.

They then stole a number of items from the Selwood Crescent house, including the retired IT worker’s Mercedes that was parked in the garden path.

Mr Roycroft managed to free himself once they made their getaway and fled to a neighbour’s house, bleeding and terrified.

Bristol Crown Court heard how the gang abandoned a Daewoo Matiz in Selwood Close en-route.

It had been stolen, along with the machete and tape, during a Bristol burglary they had committed earlier that evening and they used it to travel to Weston.

Police circulated details of the Mercedes and when it was spotted 20 minutes later officers gave chase and found the car abandoned in Stokes Croft, Bristol. The vehicle contained three knives, the machete and a balaclava worn by Cotter.

The pair were arrested just a couple of days later, as DNA evidence mounted against them.

At some point during the course of the evening of the robbery, Cotter posed for the souvenir snap (shown here) with the machete he used to attack the 69-year-old grandfather – it was found by police on Staite’s mobile phone.

On Thursday at Bristol Crown Court the pair, who lived together in a hostel in Dalrymple Road, Bristol, were handed jail terms totalling 23 years for burglary and robbery.

Staite, aged 22, had previously pleaded guilty to burglary and robbery and was jailed for seven years.

His 24-year-old accomplice Cotter, who has a long history of violent offences and previously denied robbery, was given a 13-year jail term with the possibility of a three-year extension.

During the sentencing the court heard how a witness had said Cotter had bragged after the robbery that he had cut Mr Roycroft’s leg with a machete ‘for a laugh’.

His Honour Judge Longman said he was sentencing him as a ‘dangerous offender’

Mr Roycroft, who is blind in one eye, told the Mercury following the hearing: “I feel betrayed above all else.

“It’s treachery what Jamie Staite did after having been in my home and stayed there as a guest.

“It was a harsh sentence. But it could have been harsher.

“Last night I lay awake hearing every creak in the house.”

A third man has also been arrested in connection with the robbery.

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