Jailed; Walsall doorstep conman who tricked and stole over £18K from OAPs

Crimea Price - picture from West Midlands Police
Crimea Price – picture from West Midlands Police

A cruel conman who helped steal wedding rings from an elderly widow has been jailed for over seven years.

Callous Crimea Price, 33, was part of a gang which a judge said “left a trail of misery” across the West Midlands targeting elderly widows and cancer patients.

One of his victims was stripped of £2,000 cash along with an engagement ring, her dead husband’s wedding ring and other jewellery belonging to her dead sister.

In total over a five month period dad-of-two Price, a member of the travelling community, along with others pocketed around £18,000 from 50 victims.

As he was jailed for seven-and-a-half years at Birmingham Crown Court it was heard the offences were committed while Price was on bail and the subject of a suspended sentence for similar offences.
He was jailed for 54 weeks in February for a similar raid against a 98-year-old woman who was conned of £300.

Recorder Jacob Hallam told the conman, of Long Lane, Great Wyrley near Walsall; “Between September and February you and your fellow conspirators left a trail of misery and fear across the West Midlands.
“You targeted the elderly and vulnerable in their own home to gain money and valuables.

“The effect on many was profound and will no doubt remain with them for what remains of their lives.

“A stark message must be sent to those who would prey on them as you and your co-conspirators did.”

Price and his gang targeted pensioners in Birmingham, Wolverhampton, Walsall, Sutton Coldfield, West Bromwich, Rugeley, and Cannock.

Posing as officials they would tell householders a rat infestation had been reported and demanded cash to deal with it.

Others were told a skip had to be hired to clear away garden debris or that a leak had been discovered.

While some were asked to hand over cash directly, others were distracted while a member of the gang searched cupboards and drawers hunting for cash and valuables.

Jennifer Josephs, prosecuting, said; “This was a cynical plan to visit the elderly, the easily confused or persuaded and to deceive them into gaining access to their property and their money.

“Occupants were told there were rats in the garden, that neighbours had complained, and these men were from the council and could sort it out.

“There would always be a cost for this job, usually a few hundred pounds.

“Usually people would hand over their money to the nice man from the council who would then go to get a receipt or poison for the rats.

“He would never come back, the money would be gone.”

Ms Josephs said Price was connected to the offences by mobile phone evidence which placed his two mobile phones in the areas of 49 of the offence offences at the times the pensioners were targeted.

She said; “Once may be a coincidence, twice maybe.

“But with 49 offences, the coincidence is too great.”

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Brock Turner is not just a frat boy issue, it’s a men everywhere issue

Brock Turner
Brock Turner

(Updated with mugshot of Turner which was released by police after requests from the media)

It’s hard to fathom how a 20-year-old convicted of taking an unconscious girl behind a bin before sexually assaulting her can only be subject to a six month sentence.

But the most worrying thing about the Stanford student’s case is Brock Turner’s and his father’s insistence this case was about drink culture and promiscuity.

In remarks made to the court before sentence, both Turner and his dad insisted he shouldn’t be sent to prison.

His father described such a step for “20 minutes of action” as unnecessary and that his son would be more use educating other students about drinking and promiscuity.

It has to be remembered what that “20 minutes of action” involved.

At a college party in January 2015 Turner was spotted behind a bin, seemingly gyrating against a motionless body.

That body was a fellow party-goer, barely conscious, unaware of what was being done to her.

Confronted by two other students, Turner ran but was apprehended.

His victim only became aware of the extent of what had happened as she was subjected to a string of medical examinations.

Her underwear had been removed and she had been assaulted with a foreign object and Turner’s fingers.

We can’t know what else might have happened had he not been interrupted.

You could, and should, read his victim’s account of this incident and what followed here.

Turner insisted the girl, 19, consented, that both had drunk too much but ultimately he had done nothing wrong.

And that’s what makes his educational aspirations so chilling.

Because if he still insists, as he does, that he is innocent, then his warnings about drink and promiscuity must be a warning to other men; ‘don’t get trapped by drunk and promiscuous women or else you’ll become a victim like me’.

How else can his position be interpreted based on what he and his father have said about these crimes?

Since his sentencing last week and the publication of his victim’s impact statement, discussion has centred around rape culture on college campuses.

But that belies the problem.

Last week at Birmingham Crown Court I covered a case which was picked up widely in the press.

Picture from West Midlands Police; l-r Zaheer Abbas and Sajad Hussain
Picture from West Midlands Police; l-r Zaheer Abbas and Sajad Hussain

The case involved a 19-year-old woman, removed from Snobs nightclub after collapsing, drunk inside.

Once outside she was lured into a van where she was abducted, driven to an industrial estate and raped by Zaheer Abbas, 30.

Co-defendant Sajad Hussain, 35, was acquitted of rape but convicted of sexually assaulting the teen in the back of the van.

Both men claimed their victim had consented and been a willing participant despite CCTV evidence showing she could hardly stand.

Even as he was sentenced Hussain denied doing anything wrong and he was sorry he hadn’t got out of the van sooner.

Think about that.

He’s not sorry a young woman was horrifically raped and if he could do things again he would get out of the van and leave her to be raped by his mate.

Perhaps they will set up classes in prison warning fellow inmates about drinking culture and promiscuity?

Of course both of these cases have nothing to do with drinking culture and nothing to do with promiscuity.

Promiscuity suggests a choice to have a lot of sex, and if that floats your boat, go for it.

But neither of these girls had a choice, they weren’t capable of choosing.

Whether that was down to consumption of alcohol or anything else is utterly irrelevant.

What Brock Turner and Abbas and Hussain have in common is they didn’t give a solitary shit about consent. They knew what they wanted and they just took it with no regard for their victims.

This is not an issue about college campuses, frat boys or drinking too much. It’s about men everywhere understanding the meaning of consent.

It’s about recognition that an absence of refusal isn’t a free pass to do what they want.

If a woman, or man for that matter, is unable to say yes or no, that is not tacit consent, it’s a massive no no.

The fact it’s 2016 and we still have to say these things is utterly depressing.

The fact Brock Turner’s parents still insist their son is a victim is also utterly depressing because it’s from parents these lessons should imparted.

Turner’s continued denials and insistence this case is about drinking and promiscuity should have been aggravating factors come sentencing.

His punishment should have been increased to hammer the message home about how wrong his actions were and how seriously they are taken.

Instead he will be home by Christmas and back with a family who for the rest of his life will reinforce his idea that he is the victim here.

It is for parents, and teachers, to inform children as they enter adolescence about consent, where the line is drawn and the damage caused by crossing it.

It’s not hard to see why Turner thought it was fine to take a comatose girl behind a bin and use her as a plaything when his primary role models see nothing wrong in what he did.

It can only be hoped his victim’s powerful statement resonates more than his denials to inform, not only frat boys, but men everywhere.

And until Brock Turner can stand up and say this is about consent, and sexual assault and rape, not drinking and promiscuity, he should have no voice at all.

On the run: ‘Dangerous’ paedophile who raped two young children

MANICO_JOSE
Jose Manico – picture from West Midlands Police

As the Guardian reported around 1,300 dangerous offenders are on the run after jumping court bail, here’s a pretty horrific case which concluded at Birmingham Crown Court on Monday. Anyone with information on Manico’s whereabouts should contact west Midlands Police on 101 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111

A DANGEROUS paedophile who raped two children in almost identical attacks is on the run after being sentenced to 20 years in prison.

Twisted Jose Manico, 44, fled the country before he could face trial over the string of offences against a six year old girl in London and a boy of the same age in Birmingham a decade later.

The depraved dad, from Edgbaston, Birmingham, was described by a judge as a “dangerous offender” who continued to pose a risk to children.

Passing sentence in Manico’s absence, Judge Mark Wall QC said; “I have no doubt he must be treated as a dangerous offender.

“He committed these offences at different points in his life separated by a great deal of time.

“He targeted both a boy and a girl and on each occasion they were children of real youth.

“There is a significant risk he will continue to offend in this way into the future.”

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Court on Camera; Roll up for the rapists and PAEDOS…or not.

D'oh!

In recent weeks and months I’ve watched as my profession makes itself look like Homer Simpson at the helm of Springfield’s nuclear power plant in reporting issues around the justice system.

From the reporting of the Supreme Court’s decision in R v Jogee  (judgment here) on joint enterprise to the inevitable FOI request into legal aid every time a high profile case (usually murder) ends, the media never seems to get it right.

Even the BBC made a hash of reporting the implications on joint enterprise, then led out on the outrage of the legal aid cost in the trial of Becky Watts’ killers.

Throw into the mix the disastrous three part documentary The Prosecutors, at best a tiny glimpse into life at the CPS, a worst an agenda driven puff piece, and it’s strike three for Auntie.

Thankfully the Beeb have been pretty restrained at the news cameras may be allowed into Crown Courts for the first time under plans announced by the MoJ (more thoughts on that later).

But others have run away with themselves again, like children being given the keys to the sweetie cupboard.

And so see the Mail and Express, unable to contain their excitement, found on the kitchen floor with chocolate around their mouths, candy floss in their hair and silhouetted in sherbet after their latest binge.

‘High profile murder trials could be aired LIVE on TV’ Mail Online reported (their caps). The Express took an almost identical line.

Both used the news as a way to link the story to high profile cases, Huntley, Yorkshire Ripper and so forth.

The headlines may as well have been ‘Roll up for the rapists and PAEDOS!!!!!’

In reality the MoJ plan is for a trial in just eight court centres (including Birmingham) focusing only on judge’s sentencing remarks and at this stage this footage won’t even be made public.

It will form a decision as to whether a similar setup could ever go public.

Future broadcasts would follow a similar line and so suggestions we may see live trials is way wide of the mark.

This will not be OJ Simpson in the UK, bloodied daggers will not be wielded in front of horrified jurors and viewers most certainly won’t get to watch the rapists and murderers squirm in the dock or witness box.

Instead you will see a fairly sober looking judge delivering fairly standard sentencing remarks outlining the case and explaining the rationale behind the ultimate sentence (again, more on this soon).

Reporting like this, while disappointing, shouldn’t come as a surprise really. The justice system is reported in some quarters in the same way as the NHS – grab the attention, alarm alarm alarm and don’t worry about the finer details.

The problem here is, it’s this irresponsibility that slams the brakes on access to things like cameras in courts, it’s the reason people don’t have a grasp on the importance of things like legal aid, a well funded CPS and courts service.

Part of the argument against televising trials is that media outlets would use it for entertainment, viewing figures, web clicks and would therefore use footage in the most sensational, if not accurate way, justice be damned.

Given the above examples, is there any surprise there’s apprehension about giving the lunatics the keys to the asylum?

On the whole I think the proposals by the MoJ are sensible.

Even I hade to read that sentence back to double check it contained both the words ‘MoJ’ and ‘sensible’.

The showing of a judge’s sentencing remarks would open a window on the system that for many is a mystery.

For some it will give a glimpse as to how sentencing decisions are made, taking into consideration the facts, mitigation and guidelines.

Of course for some they will retain their sense of outrage at the system unless judges order public floggings, tarring and feathering in the town square and the return of the hangman’s rope.

But at least their outrage may have some bass is in reality.

On the whole I don’t see this move changing things a great deal. Parliament has been open to cameras for decades and people still don’t have a brilliant grasp of the passage of a Bill through the house.

It will be dependant I suppose on which cases are recorded and where and how that footage is made available.

But more transparency of our justice system can only be a good thing and perhaps real footage, showing how sentencing works might help to counter some of the dodgy reporting we’re currently lumbered with.

Given Birmingham is on the list for the MoJs video trial I’ll been keen to see the process in action.

Martial arts expert jailed for manslaughter of former soldier Charles McInally

Troy Ktori - picture from West Midlands Police
Troy Ktori – picture from West Midlands Police

A former Thai Boxing world champion has been jailed for 12 years for the manslaughter of Scots ex-serviceman Charles McInally.

Troy Ktori, 27, was accused of murdering Mr McInally, 55, at the former soldier’s Birmingham home last year.

But following a week-long trial at Birmingham Crown Court the martial arts expert, of Shenstone Road, Edgbaston, Birmingham, was cleared of murder and convicted of manslaughter.

A three times world champion in his youth, Ktori stabbed the ex-Royal Signal Regiment soldier through the throat after an afternoon of drinking and taking cocaine.

He claimed he was acting in self-defence.

Jailing him for 12 years, with an extended five years on licence, Mr Justice Neil Garnham told Ktori; “You have a temper that is made worse by drink and drugs, both of which a abuse regularly.

“You behaviour demonstrates when irritated by others you will resort to violence .

“You do not act in a moment of red mist but in a collected, calm, determined manner.

“You are a dangerous man Mr Ktori.”

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Thugs jailed over Solihull pub attack on grieving man

A pair of drunk thugs who subjected a grieving man to a ‘vicious’ pub attack shortly after his brother’s funeral have been jailed.

Lester Beeson, 61, was sharing a quiet drink with friend Kevin Morgan at the Olton Tavern, Lode Lane, Solihull, after laying his brother to rest.

But when he asked a group of drunken louts on the next table to be quiet he was pelted with a banana skin and plastic shot glass.

When Mr Morgan stepped in to intervene, he was subjected to a violent attack by Reiss Johnson, 27, and Daniel Stirling, 22.

Dad-of-two Johnson then went on to attack grieving Mr Beeson, punching him to the floor and stamping on his face.

Birmingham Crown Court heard callous Johnson, of New Summer Street, Newtown, even sat down to finish his drink after the bloody attack.

He was jailed for 16 months after admitting two counts of assault occasioning actual bodily harm.

Stirling, of Guernsey Drive, Smithswood, was jailed for six months after admitting the same charge against just Mr Morgan.

Footage of the sickening violence was released by police in a bid to track down Johnson and Stirling last May.

Jailing the pair, Recorder Simon Ward said: “ I take the view anyone who attacks somebody in a public house without provocation as you two did on the video simply has to go to prison.

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Jailed; Woman who hid gun connected to fatal Birmingham shooting

Deanne Gordon - picture from West Midlands Police
Deanne Gordon – picture from West Midlands Police

A gun connected to a fatal shooting in Birmingham was found stashed in the bedroom of a jewellery shop worker a court heard.

Derek Junior Myers, 25, was killed and another man seriously injured in the shooting in at a Soho Hill pool hall last October.

A police raid six weeks later uncovered a revolver linked to the deadly shooting at the home of Deanne Gordon in the Ladywood area of the city.

The 35-year-old claimed to have found the weapon stashed behind bins near her home but her explanation was rejected by a judge.

She was jailed for five years after pleading guilty to possession of a prohibited weapon and ammunition at Birmingham Crown Court.

Judge Richard Bond said; “I reject out of hand the explanation you gave to police.

“I sentence you on the basis you were looking after this gun and bullets for a gang member and you knew that.

“The reality is this; that weapon was used in a murder so any time somebody takes possession of such a lethal weapon they run the risk of being connected to a weapon used in the most serious criminal offences on the statute book.

“It’s well known in this city such items are used by gangs affiliated with drugs and money laundering.

“The consequences of a person being in possession are obvious. These items are designed to kill and maim.”

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