Five Somerset felons sentenced for sickening offenses in May
Five Somerset felons were convicted of sickening offenses in May. They all suffered the consequences of their actions.
Two men have been jailed for causing tens of thousands of pounds of damage to Spar and Co-op stores in Somerset. Another man has been convicted after taking part in a burglary which resulted in the death of a driver in Taunton.
A stalker ex-boyfriend has been jailed for a ‘cruel, manipulative and thoughtful’ campaign of abuse. And a pedophile convicted of child pornography has been put behind bars.
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You can read more about these cases below.
Ram raiders jailed for burglaries at Spar and Co-op stores
A pair of ram raiders have been jailed for causing tens of thousands of pounds of damage to Spar and Co-op stores in Somerset. Clive Kemery and Simon Norris used stolen vehicles for the smash and grab raids at Frome and Shepton Mallet.
They stole alcohol and tobacco during the raids and left a trail of destruction. Both men appeared in Taunton Crown Court and were each sentenced to four years for the burglaries.
The court was told the men conspired together to target the shops but were easily caught as they were not wearing masks and left forensic clues at the scene.
The ram raid frenzy began on November 24, 2021 when a stolen VW Golf reversed at high speed in the window of a Spar store in Frome. Tobacco and alcohol worth £4,500 were stolen along with a safe.
The prosecutor, Mr Gregory Gordon, said the damage to the store was considerably higher, at around £11,600. There was also a commercial loss of £4,400 during the repairs.
The Golf was reused two days later to crash into a Co-op store in Frome. Kemery was driving the vehicle that struck around 3:30 a.m. Tobacco worth £6,800 was taken. Damage to the store amounted to £40,000 and the store expected to lose £13,000 in business.
Three days later, a Peugeot 307, purchased using false information linked to the defendants, was used as a getaway car during an attempted search of Radstock Co-op. Kemery used a sledgehammer to bang the store’s shutters before the couple left empty-handed.
The latest raid took place on November 30 at a co-op in Shepton Mallet. A third stolen car was used to enter the store and a small amount of alcohol was taken. The pair caused £19,400 in damage to the store which had to close for repairs.
Mr Gordon said the defendants were identified by a mixture of CCTV in the shops, distinctive fingerprints left at the scene, DNA in the cars and analysis of telephone data putting them in the right place at the right time .
Burglar convicted after high-speed police chase kills driver
A teenager has been convicted for his part in a burglary which resulted in the death of a driver in Taunton. Kurt Bishop was among a group of young men who broke into a house in South Road and stole two sets of car keys.
Bishop drove off in one of the cars and was arrested after leading the police on a high-speed chase through town. A second car was also stolen from the address. It crashed and the driver, Conner Palmer, 18, was killed.
Bishop appeared at Taunton Crown Court on Thursday May 12 for his part in the burglary. He was also convicted of aggravated vehicle seizure and a separate brawl at McDonald’s. The offenses date back to 2019 and the defendant, now 19, was spared jail after the judge heard he was moving on with his life and was just 17 at the time of the offenses .
Bishop, of Brooklands in Taunton, received a suspended prison sentence and 150 hours of unpaid work. The judge said he had “escaped prison by a hair’s breadth”.
Prosecutor Mr Derek Perry said the tragic events unfolded in the early hours of October 17, 2019, when Bishop and two other men were seen on CCTV walking outside a South Road house. The owners were asleep and awoke the next day to find two sets of car keys, bank cards, phones and other personal items had been stolen.
Mr Perry said one of the vehicles was seen on the night of the burglary driving around Taunton before crashing, killing the driver and injuring two others.
At around 1.30am, police spotted the other stolen vehicle – a VW Charon driven by Bishop – in the Upper High Street area. There was a police chase along Parkfield Road and Wellington Road, before Bishop hit a curb and a roundabout and burst the tyre. It continued – traveling at 80mph in a 50mph zone – towards the town centre, Staplegrove Road and Silk Mills Lane before coming to a halt.
He was tested and found to be below the drink driving limit. He admitted to being a disqualified driver.
Bishop was also convicted for a fight at McDonald’s on December 28, 2019. CCTV of the incident was played in court. Bishop, who did not instigate the violence, said he only joined the melee to help a friend.
The court was told that the defendant came from a difficult background but is now making good progress in his life. He was immature at the time and was becoming a father and working as a lumberjack.
Judge Paul Cook jailed Bishop for two years, suspended for two years. He was also banned from driving for two years and must pass a thorough examination before obtaining a licence.
Stalker’s ex-boyfriend jailed for abuse campaign
A Somerset man has been jailed for a horrific campaign of harassment against his ex-partner. Kalvin Laver, 29, bombarded the victim with messages and made threats against his family, a court heard.
His anger was sparked by the breakdown of their relationship in July last year and his behavior included a threat to drive a car through a house and pour petrol into the letterbox.
A judge who jailed him for two years said he had embarked on a “cruel, manipulative and thoughtful” campaign of harassment. Laver, of Liddymore Road, Watchet, was also convicted of possession of a knife and racially aggravated harassment offenses involving a tirade of abuse against police officers.
The court was told the trouble started after Laver and her ex split. Lever violated a court order by repeatedly calling the woman. He then targeted his former partner’s mother, threatening to harm the family and terrify her daughter.
The victim said in a statement that the harassment had had a serious impact on her life and that she lived in constant fear of seeing the accused. She was unable to live her life in a normal way. His mother said she was constantly on edge, worrying about what he might say or do.
The accused also admitted disclosing a private sex photograph with the intent to cause distress.
He was arrested again in October after police were called to a street in Taunton.
Pedophile caught with imprisoned child pornography
A pedophile who downloaded an app to hide his internet search history has been jailed. Basil Al-Mudalal, 68, was caught by police during a surprise visit to his home.
Al-Mudalal is a convicted sex offender who was banned from owning any device that did not store information about what he had watched online. But when police scanned his devices, they found photos and footage of child victims of sexual abuse.
The accused, of Silver Road, Street, was returned to prison for his latest offences. Taunton Crown Court was told he was still at risk of re-offending, despite having previously completed a sex offender programme.
He admitted three offenses of possessing indecent images of children and breaching the terms of his sexual abuse prevention order. Al-Mudalal was imprisoned for 26 months.
The prosecutor, Mr. Paul Grumbar, said that the police visited his house on February 22, 2022. Al-Mulalal gave his phone to the police. There was an app called “DuckDuckGo” that didn’t keep search history. No image was found on the device, but downloading the app put it in violation of its SHPO.
Police then found a hard drive connected to his television in his bedroom. Officers found several indecent images and films but stopped counting at 1,000. They included material in the most serious category and child abuse of children as young as four years old.
The accused has a previous conviction for possession of indecent images and served time in prison. He received the SHPO in 2017.