Gang jailed after rampage around Ovenden, Illingworth and Mixenden

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Members of a gang who ran riot round north Halifax invading houses, stabbing a homeowner, robbing a taxi driver and stealing from homes have been locked up for more than 30 years in total.

The gang of nine, who were aged between 14 and 42, smashed windows, stole a laptop and mobile phones as they rampaged through Turner Avenue South, Furness Drive, Myrtle Avenue and Mixenden Road on August 11, 2011 - the same night as riots were in full swing across the country.

Christopher Tuck

Christopher Tuck

Bradford Crown Court heard that at 3pm that day Christopher Tuck, 37, of Selby, Halifax, sent a text to Luke Fusco, 24, of Furness Drive, Illingworth, and Andrew Bennett, 38, of Lister Court, Halifax, saying the “naughty crew are looting shops tonight”.

Later that evening the three men, joined by a motley crew of Paul Badhams, 42, of Pellon Lane, Halifax; Francis Wilson, 21, of West Parade, Halifax; Ashley Webb, 19, of Queen Street, Buttershaw; entered a home on Myrtle Avenue, Illingworth, at around 9pm

They were joined by a 14-year-old boy and 15-year-old girl, who cannot be named for legal reasons.

The group made their way into the front room where the homeowners were relaxing and sprayed beer shouting “Let’s go mental” before smashing a table against a wall and smashing the banister of the stairs.

Ashley Webb

Ashley Webb

The ordeal lasted for 45 minutes before they made their way to Furness Drive, Illingworth, where they surrounded a taxi driver waiting for a fare. They forced their way into his taxi before stealing his sat-nav and diary. They eventually got out of the vehicle but the 14-year-old boy kicked the car and threatened the driver as he drove away.

They moved on to Turner Avenue South, Illingworth, where Badhams, Webb and Melissa Percival, 39, of Newcastle, entered a property where a mother and her 11-year-old daughter were alone.

Despite the mother’s protestations the four made their way around the house and a laptop, a purse and the 11-year-old’s mobile phone were taken.

The path of destruction continued to Mixenden Road where Bennett and the teenage boy tried to sell the laptop and the sat-nav to the homeowner who declined. However, a few moments later Wilson, Webb and a third member of the group made their way into the house and attacked the owner.

Francis Wilson

Francis Wilson

They demanded money and proceeded to assault the male occupant. They smashed vases and ornaments over his head and beat him with a musical keyboard before Wilson used a knife to slash and stab the owner across the face and neck. He required hospital treatment and stitches to his head.

On the way there Webb smashed a car window in a random act of violence.

Badhams pleaded guilty to affray, theft and burglary and was sentenced to six years in prison. Wilson admitted affray, robbery and posession of a class B drug and was handed a jail term of four years nine months.

Webb admitted affray, theft, burglary, criminal damage, robbery and escape from custody (relating to an earlier hearing) and was jailed for five years nine months.

Luke Fusco

Luke Fusco

Tuck was jailed for three years for affray, theft and handling stolen goods while Percival received a two and a half year sentence for her part in the burglary.

Fusco was jailed for five and a half years for affray, robbery and handling stolen goods and Bennett received a two year nine months sentence after admitting affray, theft and handling stolen goods.

The 14-year-old boy (now 16) was given an 18-month youth rehabilitation order while the 15-year-old girl (now 16) was given a two year order. They were both given four-month curfews from 8pm to 7am.

The case into the rampage through north Halifax was one of the biggest investigations Calderdale police has ever undertaken.

During a two hour period, officers had received calls from several different locations as the rioters left a trail of destruction in their wake.

Detectives from Calderdale CID took swift action, arresting eight of the nine offenders within 24 hours of the crimes.

Paul Badhams

Paul Badhams

But with so many different scenes and witnesses, officers had a lot of detailed investigation work to carry out.

They took 99 different statements and carried out 64 separate video identification parade interviews.

They also seized a staggering 42 different exhibits, as well as carrying out thorough forensic examinations of each scene.

Investigations into the offenders’ mobile telephones played a key part in the case.