Jailed: Carjacking gang who threatened pregnant shop assistant with pistol in Solihull - The Solihull Observer % %

Jailed: Carjacking gang who threatened pregnant shop assistant with pistol in Solihull

Solihull Editorial 11th Mar, 2020 Updated: 11th Mar, 2020   0

AN ARMED gang who terrorised Solihull with robberies and carjackings has been jailed.

The violent trio threatened an eight-months pregnant shop assistant at gun-point as they raided a newsagents.

Their spree of robberies in October 2018 included carjackings at Dorridge train station, Chelmsley Town Football Club and a cemetery in Birmingham – where they threatened a man with a handgun as he tended his wife’s grave.

Joshua Barrett, aged 22 and from Shirley, struck 46 times between October and December 2018 with Birmingham man Luke Mander, also 22.




Paul Doyle

Paul Doyle

Police say they were commanded by ringleader Paul Doyle, aged 41, of no fixed abode.

The gang targeted lone female drivers on a carjacking spree − threatening them with knives, hammers and imitation guns.


In court, prosecutors described Doyle as a “puppet master” who pulled the strings of his younger, impressionable co-conspirators and would encourage them to inflict serious harm against any victim who dared to fight back.

Their campaign of crime started on the night of October 3 when a 51-year-old woman was dragged from her car in Maryland Avenue, Hodge Hill, by two masked men who drove off in her Peugeot.

Eight days later, a 48-year-old woman was set upon by two masked men wielding metal poles as they stole her Audi Q5 at Marston Green train station.

The men were involved in more violent robberies in October, including carjackings at Dorridge train station, Princess Alice Retail Park in Sutton Coldfield and Chelmsley Town Football Club.

On November 9, they struck at a shop in Norwich Croft, Chelmsley Wood, where security footage shows the heavily pregnant shop assistant cowering on the floor, as she is threatened with an antique Luger pistol. The men raided the till for cash and took bottles of alcohol.

Then in a heartless assualt on a grieving widower, Barrett, Mander and Doyle attacked a man tending his wife’s grave at Streetly Crematorium.

They pulled a pistol on the 56-year-old man but failed to start his Nissan GTR.

As they fled, one dropped a glove which police matched to Doyle through DNA evidence.

Police image of evidence left at Streetly Cemetery

Police image of evidence left at Streetly Cemetery

The group also travelled to Weston-Super-Mare to target a motorbike convention and owners who were staying in caravan parks while attending the event.

Two motorhomes were taken on 19 October − both of which were later recovered − while detectives later seized images from Mander’s phone showing him posing on a beach with one of the stolen vehicles.

A handbag snatched from the 35-year-old woman at Chelmsley Town FC on October 17 was also discovered in a car at Weston, while phone analysis showed Mander and Barrett were in the seaside town at the time.

Evidence – Mander dropped his phone

Police had a crucial breakthrough came on November 27 when the driver of a vehicle recovery truck was hijacked at Bassett’s Pole by masked men who stole the VW Golf he was transporting. Officers scoured the scene of the offence and recovered a phone dropped by Mander during the scuffle.

Mander was arrested by West Midlands Police in the early hours of 20 December behind the wheel of a pick-up truck stolen two days earlier in Redditch and Doyle detained the following day.

Barrett was detained at an address linked to him in Greenhill Way, Shirley, on 22 November and, when officers searched the home, they uncovered keys to a Mercedes AMG C63S taken by robbers armed with a knife and firearm from Bell Lane, Tile Cross, on 8 November.

Detectives found more damning ‘selfies’ showing the men pictured alongside stolen cars and secured further DNA and mobile phone evidence linking them to crime scenes across the West Midlands, Staffordshire, Warwickshire and West Mercia.

All three pleaded guilty to conspiring to steal motor vehicles and the robberies − but only Doyle, shown on CCTV brandishing the pistol during the Solihull shop raid, admitted firearms offences with Barrett and Mander suggesting they had no knowledge a gun was to be used.

However, a jury found them both guilty of conspiring to possess and possessing an imitation gun and at Birmingham Crown Court on Tuesday (10 March) they were handed lengthy jail terms.

Joshua Barrett, 22, of Green Hill Way in Shirley, was given 18 years in prison at Birmingham Crown Court

Sentenced to over 60 years in jail

Doyle was sentenced to 24 years imprisonment. Mander, from Kingsbury Road, Birmingham, and Barratt from Green Hill Way, Shirley, were handed jail terms of 16-and-a-half and 18 years respectively.

A fourth man, 18-year-old Kier Carter, from Kingsbury Road in Erdington, admitted being involved in the car thefts at an earlier hearing and was jailed for three years.

“Puppet-master”

Investigating officer, Detective Constable Adam Buzzard, welcomed the sentences: “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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