Armed robber jailed for terrifying raid at Shibden Mill Inn

David Malcolm Berry has been jailed for eight-and-a half years
David Malcolm Berry has been jailed for eight-and-a half years

An armed robber who was involved in early morning attacks on hotels in Halifax and Bradford Halifax has been jailed for eight-and-a-half years.

Bradford Crown Court heard how night porters working alone at the Guide Post Hotel in Bradford and the Shibden Mill Inn in Halifax were subjected to terrifying ordeals after masked intruders forced their way into the premises via the fire doors.

Halifax man David Berry was linked by DNA evidence to the robberies, which took place over a three-day period, and Judge Colin Burn heard that the offences were part of spree of crimes committed by him in December and January.

Berry, previously of Grove Street South, was found guilty of the two robbery charges after a trial last month, but he also admitted being involved in a overnight house burglary in Halifax and a third robbery during which he dragged a delivery driver from his van and drove off the vehicle.

On January 2 this year Berry and his accomplice, who has not been traced, targeted the Shibden Mill Inn and attacked night porter David Holmes as they demanded cash and property from him.

Prosecutor Stephen Littlewood described how Mr Holmes was confronted in the early morning by two intruders wearing scarves over their lower faces and carrying knives and a chisel.

Again the duo had forced their way in through fire doors and Mr Holmes was "dragged from room to room" before being stabbed in the buttock by one of the men during his ordeal.

The raiders eventually fled with some cash and the court heard that Mr Holmes was off work for four weeks after the robbery.

During the raid on the Guide Post Hotel, which took place in the early hours of New Year's Eve, one of the two masked intruders threatened night porter Laylay Luasa with a hammer and forced him to hand over the safe keys.

Mr Luasa was told he wouldn't get hurt if he stayed on the ground, but he eventually managed to make his escape as the duo stole more than £2000 from the safe.

During the police investigation into the two robberies officers recovered a screwdriver from the Guide Post Hotel which had a DNA match for Berry.

Berry's DNA was also found on a chisel and a discarded "V for Vendetta" Halloween mask which were found at the Shibden Mill Inn.

During his trial Berry, now of no fixed abode, denied being involved in either robbery, but the jury returned unanimous guilty verdicts after less than three hours deliberation.

A few days before the first robbery Berry and two others stole various property and car from a house in Halifax while family were asleep in bed.

A week after the Shibden Mill raid Berry confronted a delivery driver as he worked in Halifax and drove off in his van.

The court heard that as police officers tried to arrest Berry in the aftermath of that final robbery he "rammed" their vehicles as in a bid to make a getaway in a Volkswagen Jetta.

Berry was jailed for three robberies, one offence of house burglary and dangerous driving with Judge Burn telling him that the Shibden Mill attack was "a very serious matter indeed".

The judge said Mr Holmes had been punched, stamped on and stabbed as he was dragged around the hotel and "horrendous" violence had been used against him.

Because of the lengthy jail term Berry was disqualified from driving for a total of five years and three months and he must also take an extended driving test at the end of the ban.