Thamesmead robbers jailed over violent Chatham robbery

Two men from Thamesmead and Bostall Hill have been jailed for a combined 13 years after they broke into the home of an elderly couple and attacked them before fleeing with stolen property.

After punching a man in his 70s several times in the face and also assaulting his 60-year-old partner, the pair stole the couple’s Mercedes which they used to drive away and burgle another house.

Mark Bishop, 41, of Bostall Hill, London, and Darren Donnelly, 44, of Abbotts Close, Thamesmead, were sentenced after they were both charged with robbery and burglary.

Bishop denied the charges but was found guilty by a jury on 28 August 2020.

Both men were sentenced at Maidstone Crown Court on 2 September with Bishop being handed a seven-year sentence and Donnelly being jailed for six years.

Investigating officer Detective Constable Dan Bister said: “These men targeted an elderly couple in a frightening and violent incident before stealing their vehicle and using it to commit a further crime nearby.

He described their attempt to evade officers as “brazen”, and they didn’t even try to conceal their identity during the robberies, as well as being clearly caught driving a stolen car and being in the area where the other crimes were commited.

“We work hard to bring offenders to justice, and I’m pleased they have been sentenced for these crimes.”

The duo were jailed after they forced their way inside a home at around 3.20pm in Star Mill Lane, Chatham, on July 2, 2019.

Inside, they assaulted both the man, in his 70s, punching him several times in the face, before also punching a woman in her 60s and threatening a second woman.

Bishop and Donnelly then stole a mobile phone and a set of car keys belonging to a Mercedes which they then drove to Nuthatch, Longfield.

Directly after, at around 4.45pm, they burgled a house and stole jewellery before driving away.

Both incidents were reported to Kent Police and at around 5pm the vehicle was seen by police officers in Green Street Green, Longfield, where it was able to evade officers.

Further enquiries led police to the vehicle where it was found abandoned in a car park in Woolwich at around 5.45pm.

Both men were arrested in the High Street at around 7pm after police were called to a disturbance at a pub.

As part of the investigation officers reviewed CCTV and both Bishop and Donnelly were seen approaching the house in Chatham before the stolen car was then seen on further CCTV in and around Woolwich High Street.

Dash cam footage was also handed to police following a media appeal and this showed Bishop driving the stolen vehicle earlier that day in Green Street Green. They were subsequently charged with the offences.

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