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Detectives Praise Victims' Courage After Violent Robbers Jailed for More than 23 Years

Two violent burglars were arrested within just 36 hours of a “barbaric” attack near Malton in which they threatened to kill a couple in their 70s before beating them for half an hour.

Brothers John and Mark Gibbons were jailed yesterday for a total of more than 23 years after breaking into the rural home near Malton in balaclavas.

They repeatedly punched both victims in the head, knocking the man to the floor, and threatened to use scissors and a cheese grater to mutilate the woman’s face. Both sustained bad facial injuries.

After using a sickening level of violence, the Gibbons stole jewellery that had belonged to deceased family members of the couple. Police were surprised to find Mark Gibbons wearing some of it when he was arrested.

The incident happened in October last year. The couple had responded to an advert for a gardener and appointed John Gibbon.

He did some poor-quality work at the address and the victims found him strange, so they paid the £3,500 bill to get rid of him.

Two months later he and Mark Gibbon went to their house covering their faces with masks and smashed their way through the front door while the occupants were watching television.

They immediately demanded money before spending around half an hour beating the couple.

The victims suffered severe bruising and cuts. The man was pinned to the floor by his neck while the offenders threatened to maim the woman with a grater and scissors unless she handed over cash.

The Gibbons then ransacked the house and filled a carrier bag with possessions including cash, sentimentally-valuable jewellery and the couple’s mobile phones so they could not call for help.

When they left, the victims managed to call 999 from their landline and police were dispatched to the address immediately.

The investigation was taken on by detectives in Scarborough CID.

They launched an extensive investigation and circulated wanted appeals for both suspects, who were tracked down in West Yorkshire.

Both were arrested within 36 hours of the incident.

They were charged with robbery and remanded in custody before appearing at York Crown Court.

Mark Gibbons, 44, of Heckmondwike, West Yorkshire, pleaded guilty and was sentenced to 13 years and 9 months in prison.

John Gibbons, 38, and also of Heckmondwike, was jailed for nine-and-a-half years after pleading not guilty but being found guilty by a jury.

After the hearing, Detective Constable Nicholas Burton who led the investigation, said:

“To call this attack horrific is an understatement. The Gibbons used barbaric levels of aggression against a totally innocent couple.

“Significant resources were put into this investigation and fortunately we were able to track down and detain both suspects within 36 hours of the offences happening.

“The fact that Mark Gibbons was still wearing the stolen personalised ring and chain - which belonged to a deceased member of the victims’ family -  speaks volumes about him. People will quite rightly be sickened by the way both defendants behaved.

“While I would stress that attacks like this are extremely rare, especially here in North Yorkshire, this would have been a terrifying ordeal. So I am thankful that both defendants were remanded so they couldn’t pose a further risk to the public before being sentenced to prison."

Detectives praised the couple's bravery throughout the ordeal and the court process, which was exacerbated by John Gibbons denying the offence and forcing the victims to attend court to give evidence.

DC Burton added:

"After all they've been subjected to, their courage to the very end has been admirable. It has helped convict two very violent defendants who were described in court as cowardly thugs and are now starting long prison sentences."

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