Schizophrenic South Yorkshire man took cocaine to join shotgun gang and rob dog-breeder

A schizophrenic South Yorkshire man took cocaine before joining a gang that wielded a shotgun and a sledgehammer to rob £3,000 from a dog breeder, Sheffield Crown Court has heard.

Monday, 19th October 2020, 12:30 pm

John Marshall was one of three men who smashed open their victim's front door and terrorised the occupant into jumping out of his bedroom window, at 9.30pm, on February 4,

Cash from the sale of a puppy litter was taken from a bedroom drawer, prosecutor Gurdial Singh told Sheffield Crown Court, on Friday.

The shotgun was fired into a van window shortly afterwards, and Marshall's blood was later found on nearby brickwork, following the incident in the Rawmarsh area of Rotherham.

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Part of Hawthorne Avenue, Rawmarsh, was cordoned off by the police following the incident on February 4.

Marshall was released from a secure hospital in December last year, after he was detained under the Mental Health Act for ten years for robbery, Mr Singh said.

He told the court how Marshall broke into a man's house to steal his cocaine and sat astride him, with a knife to his throat, while he was in bed, in April 2009.

He was also sentenced to two years in a Young Offenders' Institution, for unlawful wounding, in 2006, and received four months for battery, in 2008.

Clare Ashcroft, mitigating, said Marshall, who was a voluntary inpatient at Kendray Hospital at the time, "went along with plans made by others."

She said CCTV showed Marshall wasn’t carrying the long-barrelled shotgun, but there wasn’t enough evidence to link two other men to the offence.

Marshall, who suffers from schizophrenia with psychosis, was assessed as stable at the time of his release, but “cocaine was responsible for him leaving the secure unit and getting involved.”

She said he is currently helping another man with mental health difficulties and “is stable as long as he continues to take his medication.”

Marshall, 32, currently of HMP Doncaster, pleaded guilty to aggravated burglary, criminal damage and possession of a firearm.

On Friday, Judge Sarah Wright told him: “This was a terrifying and shocking set of offences.”

She imposed an extended sentence of 11 years in prison, with a further five years on licence, making a total of 16 years. Marhsall will serve two thirds of the 11 years before he can be considered for parole.

Read the latest cases from Sheffield Crown Court here.

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