Man gets extended time in prison after helping to organise robbery from cell
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A man has been found guilty of helping to organise a robbery near Stockbridge from his prison cell.
Christopher Doughty, 62, had denied any involvement in the robbery, which took place on March 23, 2020, at an address on Leckford Lane, Leckford.
But on November 21, 2023, a jury at Winchester Crown Court found him guilty of encouraging or assisting an offence, and possessing a mobile phone inside a prison.
On Monday 11 December, Doughty was handed a custodial term of 14 years, with an extended licence period of five years, bringing his total sentence to 19 years.
The court heard that two men, Jed Martin and Eriks Valants, broke into the property and used tape to bind the elderly victim to the newel post at the foot of the stairs. They stole jewellery, plus a Military Cross Medal awarded for gallantry in WW2, and left the victim despite knowing she would not receive another visitor for over 24 hours.
Officers later arrested the pair and both men pleaded guilty to robbery in March 2021. Both men were sentenced to ten years in prison.
Their phones were seized and call data examined as part of the investigation, the trial heard. The data showed that both men were in regular contact with a mobile number that was later attributed to Doughty.
The jury was told that on the night of the robbery, there was contact between Doughty and the two men through calls and text messages, with a gap in activity when the robbery took place.
Other texts to the men and their associates identified Doughty as the user of the number, despite him being in HMP Erlestoke in Wiltshire at the time.
A further mobile, thought to be a ‘burner’ phone for the two men, was in the Leckford area at the time of the robbery, and showed contact with Doughty on the night of the robbery.
Speaking after the hearing, Detective Constable Thomas Bailey said: “At the time of this robbery, Doughty was part-way through a 21 year sentence for a very similar offence in 2014, in which he targeted another elderly woman. This followed an earlier conviction for yet another offence of the same nature in 2006.
“Doughty’s involvement in this crime was identified as the result of telecommunications and cell site data analysis, which proved he was in contact with his co-defendants Martin and Valants from his prison cell, not only during their reconnaissance visits to the area, but during the commission of the offence, lending his expertise to the two younger men.
“His two co-defendants pleaded guilty and were each sentenced to ten years. Doughty’s sentence today brings the combined total handed down for this offence to 39 years.
“Despite these convictions and the meticulous work of the investigation team, none of the stolen jewellery was ever recovered. This was not only valuable, but was of great sentimental value to the victim. I remain willing to learn of any information which may assist the police in locating any of the stolen articles, and ensuring they are returned to their owner. While almost four years have passed, it is never too late to do the right thing.
“If you can help, please contact the police on 101, quoting the reference number 44200107588. Alternatively, you can call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.”