Doncaster traveller gang jailed in murder case

(Top row l-r) John Edward Nicholson, Ambrose Dear (Bottom row l-r) Karl Gaskin and Michael Dear. All four have been jailed at Leeds Crown Court.

(Top row l-r) John Edward Nicholson, Ambrose Dear (Bottom row l-r) Karl Gaskin and Michael Dear. All four have been jailed at Leeds Crown Court.

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A Doncaster gang has been jailed over a plot to injure a father in a revenge attack which ended with one of his friends being murdered.

Sidney Cox was left dying after he was beaten and stabbed after a stolen recovery truck smashed through the gates at his home. He was attacked by a gang of masked men from the travelling community armed with machetes, spades and other weapons.

The details of the death of 57-year-old Mr Cox and the conviction of two men for his murder can be reported for the first time after restrictions were lifted on a related case at Leeds Crown Court.

Brothers Ambrose Dear, 40, of Stocksbridge Lane, Bentley, and Michael Dear, 39, of Norton Common Road, Askern, were each convicted by a jury after a trial earlier this year of murdering Mr Cox and conspiracy to cause grievous bodily harm to another man Benjamin Reynolds.

They were each sentenced to life in prison with a minimum of 18 years in custody minus time on remand.

Two other men, John Nicholson, 24, of Little Lane, Long Sandall, and Karl Gaskin, 41, of no fixed address, were convicted on the conspiracy charge. Gaskin, was jailed for 10 years with an extended five year licence and Nicholson jailed for seven years.

Their trial heard the gang had targeted Mr Reynolds’ address following an incident at a fair.

Mr Cox was attacked despite the fact he had nothing to do with the dispute and was not a member of the Reynolds family.

Mr Reynolds managed to get away from the incident and reported it to police.

Mr Cox suffered multiple rib fractures, tears to his liver, damage to his lungs and bleeding on the brain.

He died later from the combined effect of his injuries.

The court heard the attackers caused “mayhem” inflicting substantial damage to other vehicles in the courtyard and breaking windows.

The judge said the Dear brothers were being sentenced for encouraging others to violence.

Five more members of the gang were jailed yesterday.

Mr Justice Edis said they were not being sentenced for the killing of Mr Cox.

But the judge told Leeds Crown Court each had played a part in a serious offence on August 24 last year when “extreme violence” was planned against Mr Reynolds at his home following an earlier incident at a fair.

He said: “What you were part of was taking the law into your own hands.”

The plot culminated in an “armed band” travelling in a convoy led by a stolen truck which smashed into Mr Reynolds’s home. He managed to escape “by the skin of his teeth” driving off, but Mr Cox was then attacked by unidentified masked men.

All five admitted conspiracy to cause grievous bodily harm to Mr Reynolds.

Robert Gaskin, 37 of Stocksbridge Lane, Bentley, was jailed for eight years.

His son Larry, 19 of Cleveland Road, Armthorpe, was sent to a young offender institution for six years eight months.

Hannibal Riley, 35 of Barnby Dun Road, Long Sandall, who helped steal the recovery truck but did not join the convoy was jailed for six years six months; Reynolds Tunney, 63 of Mill Lane, Brigg, who drove a van in the convoy and Patrick Stewart, 42 of Doncaster Road, Wakefield who tried to follow the fleeing Mr Reynolds were both jailed for seven years.

The gang, who were travellers, believed they were “untouchable”, a senior policeman said.

Det Sup Jon Morgan from West Yorkshire Police said: “Mr Cox was brutally attacked and left for dead when a dispute he had absolutely nothing to do with exploded into completely unnecessary violence.

“He was attacked purely because he was the only man around when this group arrived at the farm intent on vengeance following an earlier fallout.

“They like to think of themselves as untouchable but this case should clearly demonstrate that no-one is above the law.

“Mr Cox’s family have been left devastated by his death.”