Home Breaking News The 15 Herts criminals who will spend Christmas behind bars

The 15 Herts criminals who will spend Christmas behind bars

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It’s been a busy few months for our courts and there will be plenty of criminals who’ll be spending Christmas behind bars.

From arsonists to drug dealers, and murderers to blackmailing vulnerable victims, judges in Hertfordshire have been making sure our most dangerous criminals feel the full extent of the law.

There have been a number of harrowing cases, and here are just seven that have shocked the county in recent months.

Read more: Get the latest news from across the courts

These 15 criminals will all be spending the festive season in prison and made to pay for their actions.

Emma Blackman

28-year-old Emma Blackman of Devonshire Green, Farnham Road in Slough, took advantage of the man who she met on a dating site back in 2017

Emma Blackman was jailed for manipulating, blackmailing, threatening and controlling an autistic man.

The 28-year-old of Devonshire Green, Farnham Road in Slough, took advantage of the man who she met on a dating site back in 2017.

St Albans Crown Court heard how, over a 15-day period in October 2017, she racked up £8,000 of debt in his name, including in Watford, using force, threats and control.

She also used his bank cards by repeatedly using blackmail and threats towards his family if he didn’t comply.

She was jailed for five years for a number of offences including blackmail after targeting a vulnerable man.

Read the full story here.

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Harvey Kavanagh, Kobi Nelson, Kai Henry Smith and Isaac Wallace Greaves

Teen members of drug gang

From left to right: Harvey Kavanagh, Kobi Nelson, Kai Henry Smith and Isaac Wallace Greaves

Four teenage members of a drug gang were sentenced last month to a total of 42 years for a campaign of terror that included cutting off the nose and two fingers of a rival.

Kobi Nelson, 19, Isaac Wallace Greaves and Kai Henry Smith, both 18, and Harley Kavanagh, 17, armed themselves with swords and machetes to attack and rob the victims of their drugs.

Prosecutor Michael Shaw told St Albans Crown Court that one man was lured out of an address in Cotlandswick, London Colney, near St Albans, on January 13, 2020, when bricks were thrown at his car.

He was chased and, when he slipped and fell on wet ground, was struck with a Samurai sword and a baseball bat. He lost two fingers and suffered the total amputation of the tip of his nose. He received a bleed to the brain, lost teeth and had multiple stab wounds.

On December 9, 2019, a man parked up in a BMW in York Road suffered stab wounds to his hands and arms when he was attacked with machetes and swords. He needed surgery to have tendons reattached.

12 days later, on December 21, another man was ambushed in a car. His tyres were slashed and he fled from a man who was pursuing him with a knife.

Another victim was chased into Sainsbury’s in London Colney on September 23 last year (2020). When he came out of the shop they tried to stab and rob him. Staff who tried to intervene were threatened.

Nelson of De Parys Avenue, Bedford; Kavanagh of Willougby Court, London Colney; Wallace Greaves of Cotton Mill Crescent, St Albans and Henry-Smith of Maynard Drive, St Albans appeared for sentencing on October 30 having been convicted by a jury conspiracy to commit robbery and conspiracy to commit GBH.

The defendants, who were aged between 15 and 18 at the time of their crimes, met at school in St Albans.

Smith had also pleaded guilty to causing grievous bodily harm to a man he stabbed in the back with a large knife in Trumpington Drive, St Albans. Nelson also admitted possessing cannabis in Harpenden.

Judge Richard Foster said he found Wallace Greaves, Henry-Smith and Kavanagh , who had been involved in the Cotlandswick attack, as dangerous offenders.

It means they have to serve two-thirds of their sentence before they can be considered for parole. Nelson could be considered for parole after half of his sentence.

Wallace Greaves, Henry-Smith and Kavanagh were each sentenced to 12 years’ detention with an extended sentence of five years, which means they can be returned to custody at any time in the next 17 years. Nelson was sentenced to six years’ detention.

The judge told Kavanagh and Wallace Greaves, who attacked the man who had his nose chopped off: “You behaved like a savage when you carried out that merciless attack on the victim at Cotlandswick. It is hard to understand how one human being can behave in such a way to another.”

Read the full story here.

Shahnavaz Azad, Hamza Azad, Mohammed Haroon Azad, Mohammed Hamza Shah, Umar Sarfraz and Mohammed Raja Azad

Three men have been sentenced to life in prison for the murder of Luke O'Connell, 26, who sadly died after suffering stab wounds on August 31, 2019

Three men have been sentenced to life in prison for the murder of Luke O’Connell, 26, who sadly died after suffering stab wounds on August 31, 2019

26-year-old Luke O’Connell was brutally attacked and died in hospital during the early hours of Saturday, August 31, 2019.

More than two years from his death, seven men were sentenced in connection with the murder.

  • Shahnavaz Azad, aged 29, of no fixed abode, Watford was found guilty of murder and section 18 assault. He was sentenced to life with minimum 27 years, plus five years concurrent for the assault.
  • Hamza Azad, aged 24, of Nicholas Close, Watford and Aamir Mustafa, aged 24, of St Georges Road, Watford wer found guilty of murder and section 18 assault. They were sentenced to life with minimum 22 years, plus five years concurrent for the assault.
  • Mohammed Haroon Azad, aged 23, of Nicholas Close, Watford, Mohammed Hamza Shah, aged 21, of Hagden Lane, Watford and Umar Sarfraz, aged 23, of Whippendell Road, Watford were all found guilty of manslaughter and section 20 assault. They were sentenced to nine years for manslaughter, plus two years concurrent for the assault each.
  • Mohammed Raja Azad, aged 50, of Nicholas Close, Watford was found guilty of perverting the course of justice. He was sentenced to 28 months.

You can read the full story here.

Byron Pollock

Byron Pollock, aged 18, was sentenced to life for Christopher's murder

Byron Pollock, aged 18, was sentenced to life for Christopher’s murder

Byron Pollock, aged 18, formerly of Meadow Way, was given the equivalent of a life sentence with a minimum term of 19 years before parole would be considered, having been found guilty of murder of 31-year-old Christopher Hewett, a dad from Stevenage.

A 15-year-old boy, who cannot be named for legal reasons, was sentenced to five years after he was found guilty of manslaughter, having been cleared of murder.

Christopher died in hospital on the evening of February 12, 2021. He had been attacked in Meadow Way, suffering stab wounds to the chest.

Luton Crown Court heard how Christopher was attacked with a baseball bat by the younger boy outside Hewett’s sister’s home in Meadow Way, Bedwell, just after 9pm on the fateful night.

As he grappled with the 15-year-old, Pollock stabbed him.

Mr Hewett suffered a large wound to his side and died in the arms of his cousin.

Read the full story here.

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Giuseppe Mills

Giuseppe Mills, 23, of Birds Hill, Letchworth has been jailed for arson

Giuseppe Mills, 23, of Birds Hill, Letchworth has been jailed for arson

Giuseppe Mills, 23, of Birds Hill, Letchworth, has been jailed for arson.

He was jailed for 10 years and three months for setting fire to his ex-girlfriend’s family home while she and her parents were asleep upstairs.

Under the cover of darkness the 23-year-old, armed with an imitation firearm, went to the family home of his ex-girlfriend at 2.30am on Friday, May 1 last year.

The pair had a brief relationship in 2018.

While she and her parents were sleeping upstairs, he set their kitchen door alight and fired an imitation weapon towards the home in Rundells, Letchworth Garden City.

The flames ripped through the home but luckily no one was injured.

Mills appeared at St Albans Crown Court for sentencing on September 16 after pleading guilty to arson – reckless as to whether life was endangered and possession of an imitation firearm with intent to commit an indictable offence.

Detective Constable Nathalia Smith, from North Herts Local Crime Unit, said: “The fire caused extensive damage to the door and back walls of the house but fortunately no one was injured.

“This was a terrifying ordeal for the young woman and her family and I am pleased to see Mills given a lengthy jail term for this arson attack.”

Read the full story here.

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Mohammed Rathore

Mohammed Rathore has been jailed for 3 and a half years

Mohammed Rathore has been jailed for 3 and a half years

A banned driver who seriously injured his passenger after crashing into a wall has been jailed for three-and-a-half years.

Mohammed Rathore, 22, fled the scene leaving the man, who suffered a brain injury, in the overturned VW Golf.

Rathore threw off his clothes and clambered in through a window of a house in Hempstead Road where he told an astonished resident that he was fleeing drug dealers, St Albans Crown Court was told.

Prosecutor Nathalie Carter said that after he was handed clothes, Rathore said there had been an accident and a man was injured. He left the house and the resident called the police, who arrested Rathore nearby.

When tested for drug driving, he was found to have excessive levels of cocaine and cannabis in his system.

Two days before the crash, Rathore had fraudulently obtained insurance by stating that he had no driving convictions.

Rathore, of Croxley View, Watford, appeared for sentence having pleaded guilty to causing serious injury by dangerous driving, driving while disqualified, fraudulently obtaining insurance, having no insurance and driving while over the limit for cocaine and cannabis.

The story can be read in full here.

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Claire Charlton

Claire Charlton, 33, of Rickmansworth Road, Watford, was previously found guilty of burglary dwelling and theft following a short trial

Claire Charlton, 33, of Rickmansworth Road, Watford, was previously found guilty of burglary dwelling and theft following a short trial

A woman who burgled an elderly couple while they were sat inside their own home has been jailed.

Claire Charlton, 33, of Rickmansworth Road, Watford, was previously found guilty of burglary dwelling and theft following a short trial at St Albans Crown Court, which ended on Thursday, August 12.

On Saturday, April 20, 2019, Charlton entered the victims’ home off Radlett Road in Watford via a side door, the jury heard.

The victims, both in their 80s, were sitting in their conservatory when they heard a noise.

The female victim went to investigate and found Charlton searching the kitchen.

Charlton quickly exited the house and ran off, before the victims called the police. It was later discovered that Charlton had stolen hundreds of pounds in cash, jewellery and an antique watch worth thousands of pounds.

Some of the items stolen were of huge sentimental value to the victims and can never be replaced.

Charlton was later arrested on suspicion of the offence in June 2019 before being charged.

She was jailed for three years.

You can read the story in full.

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