Jail for driver of gang who stole �6,000 from businessman by pouring boiling water over him

A MAN who unwittingly acted as a getaway driver for a vicious gang of robbers who poured boiling water over a Fenland businessman to force him to hand over �6,000 was jailed for 15 months. Simon Patterson, 35, drove a stolen van which was used to take the

A MAN who unwittingly acted as a getaway driver for a vicious gang of robbers who poured boiling water over a Fenland businessman to force him to hand over �6,000 was jailed for 15 months.

Simon Patterson, 35, drove a stolen van which was used to take the three robbers to the vehicle dismantling premises belonging to Tony Gray in Wheatley Bank, Walsoken, Norwich Crown Court heard.

Mr Gray had two kettles of boiling water poured over his back and buttocks to make him disclose where he kept his money.

Christopher Morgan, prosecuting, said that fearing the assault would be taken even further, Mr Gray told the robbers where to find his cash and they then made their escape.


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Mr Gray managed to get to a neighbour to raise the alarm and saw the robber's getaway vehicle - a blue van - driving off towards King's Lynn and was able to give a description.

Mr Morgan said that Patterson later confessed to a probation worker he had been offered good money to act as a driver but had no idea violence was to be used and thought the target was a perfume factory.

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Patterson's fingerprints and DNA was also found by police on the stolen getaway van which was later found abandoned.

Patterson, of no fixed address, admitted theft and handling stolen goods on August 4, last year.

Jailing him for 15 months, Judge Anthony Bate said it was an unusual case and accepted that Patterson did not know Mr Gray would be "grievously harmed".

He said that Patterson also had not entered Mr Gray's home: "You did not contemplate any violence."

Judge Bate also awarded Mr Gray �250 for his active co-operation in the inquiry.

Jonathan Dunn for Patterson said: "He thought he was driving a van to a burglary at a perfume factory. He was unaware of what happened."

He added that it was an unusual case and said: "He convicted himself out of his own mouth by his unguarded comments to a probation worker."

Mr Dunn said that Patterson had put to good use his time while on remand to address his drinking.

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