Violent carjackers who targeted Somerset in nationwide crime spree jailed for more than 60 years

A gang of violent carjackers who targeted Weston-super-Mare as part of a GBP500,000 crime spree have been jailed for more than 60 years between them. Paul Doyle, 41, Luke Mander and Joshua Barrett, 22, robbed women, a mourner and car owners as they carried out 46 crimes across the country in the space of 11 weeks. The brazen gang used hammers, knives and imitation firearms to steal a string of luxury cars and on one occasion forced a heavily pregnant woman to the ground at gunpoint as they ransacked a shop.

Among the places the gang targeted was a motorbike convention in Weston-super-Mare in which two motorhomes were stolen from a caravan park on October 19 last year.

Luke Mander poses by a motorhome that was stolen from Weston-super-Mare

A handbag which had been snatched from a 35-year-old woman in a previous theft was also discovered in a car in the town, while phone analysis showed Mander and Barrett were there at the time. In a disgusting ambush, the gang also pulled a pistol on a 56-year-old man as he visited his late wife’s grave at Streetly Crematorium near Birmingham and forced him to hand over the keys to his car. After they failed to start the car, the gang fled, but Doyle left a glove behind at the scene, from which DNA was used to trace him to the crime.

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The gang later hijacked a vehicle recovery truck in the West Midlands – a raid in which Mander dropped his phone after the driver fought back – and a pick-up truck in Redditch, Worcestershire.

Mander was arrested after being caught behind the wheel of a truck on December 20, while Doyle was apprehended the following day. Barrett had previously been arrested on November 22.

Violent carjackers who targeted Somerset in nationwide crime spree jailed for more than 60 yearsFrom left, Joshua Barrett, Luke Mander and Kier Carter were jailed for 18, 16 and a half and three years respectively

All three pleaded guilty to conspiring to steal motor vehicles and the robberies and were also convicted of firearms offences. Doyle, described as the gang’s ringleader and “puppet master”, was jailed for 24 years at Birmingham Crown Court.

Mander, of Birmingham, was jailed for 16 and a half years, while Barrett, of Shirley, West Midlands, was sentenced to 18 years. A fourth man, Kier Carter, 18, of Erdington, Birmingham, admitted being involved in the car thefts at an earlier hearing and was jailed for three years. After the case, DC Adam Buzzard, of West Midlands Police, which led the investigation into the gang along with Staffordshire and Warwickshire Police, said: “Doyle is a dangerous, erratic individual with a penchant for violence – he’s a convicted armed robber who was only released from prison in July 2018 after almost a decade behind bars.

“He recruited Mander and Barrett to carry out his offending; even when not present at offences he was clearly orchestrating the attacks, acting as a puppet master for Mander and Barrett who were drawn in by an older role model and the promise of quick cash. “The group were brazen, not afraid to commit robberies in broad daylight on their own doorstep in Chelmsley Wood. “We recovered many of the stolen cars – but the impact on victims has been profound with most suffering long-term psychological damage as well as having to carry the physical scars of injuries.

“They have rightly been handed long prison sentences for what was a shocking series of robberies.”

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