Brothers armed with knife and axe jailed for terrifying robbery at Brighouse pub

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Two brothers have been jailed for six years each for subjecting a bar manager to a terrifying ordeal when they “took over” a Brighouse pub late at night.

A court heard today (Friday) how the manager had been getting ready to close up the Bridge pub on Briggate last December when Anthony Murphy, who was already barred from the premises, came in with a man and a woman.

Prosecutor Geraldine Kelly said the manager refused to serve Murphy and the others, but when his brother Paul came in he claimed that they only wanted one drink.

Paul Murphy was said to have shown the victim a knife as he told thim:”Just let me do what I want and you won’t get hurt.”

Bradford Crown Court heard that Paul Murphy then started pulling pints for the group and told the victim to keep a tally so he could pay up at the end of the night.

Miss Kelly said the manager overheard a conversation between the men about there being a lot of money in the tills and during the night both brothers managed pocket around £2000 by getting into two tills and a safe.

After the man and woman left the pub at about 12.30am the victim was told to lock the side door so the brothers could carry on drinking.

The pair then demanded to know where to find the CCTV equipment and after one of them picked up an axe they ordered the manager upstairs and told him to open the office.

Miss Kelly said Paul Murphy pulled out the knife and told the victim that “he didn’t want to have to use it”.

Eventually Anthony Murphy forced open the office door and the hard-drive was removed from the CCTV equipment before both men urinated on the floor.

Miss Kelly said the axe and the hard-drive were later recovered from the nearby canal after the robbery.

At one stage the brothers went looking for cash in another safe, but there was no money in it.

After more threats the manager said he would tell the police that two masked men had robbed him and the brothers eventually left in a taxi at about 2.30am with bags containing stolen alcohol.

Miss Kelly said Anthony Murphy had obtained the victim’s number after taking his mobile phone from him during the incident and when he became aware that the police had identified them he rang the manager and threatened him.

During the call Anthony Murphy told him:”You ******* grassed on us. I’m coming over there to stab you and finish the job off.”

Miss Kelly said the brothers had stolen about £300 worth of stock from the pub together with just over £2000 in cash.

The court heard that Paul Murphy, 43 (DOB 13/12/72), of Fairfax Crescent, Southowram, had a lengthy history of previous convictions which included prison sentences for house burglary and firearms offences.

His 36-year-old brother Anthony (DOB 16/6/79), of Sunnybank Grange, Brighouse, had not committed any offences for over a decade.

Both men pleaded guilty to robbery and possession of a bladed article in a public place and Anthony Murphy also admitted a separate charge of witness intimidation.

Jailing the brothers Judge Jonathan Durham Hall QC said their guilty pleas on the day of their trial has spared the victim the ordeal of having to relive what happened that night.

The judge said although the manager had not suffered any physical injury a number of weapons had been used during the course of “prolonged and nasty” incident.

Judge Durham Hall said the brothers had been “egging each other on” as the incident escalated and they had effectively taken over the pub.

“You subjected the victim to indignity, humiliation, threat and fear as the matters developed into a full-blown robbery,” the judge told them.

“You clearly left him with the impression that he had better not tell the truth.”

Judge Durham Hall said both men had been drinking at the time and their victim had been someone who was doing his job.

“It must have been quite appalling for the victim who may not have known, in reality, how it was going to end up however much he pretended to go along with you.”

Barristers for the brothers said they were both remorseful and ashamed of their behaviour and they submitted that it had not been a pre-planned robbery.