Leicestershire Man In Court As Trial Into Pensioner's Death Begins

6 March 2019, 15:30 | Updated: 6 March 2019, 16:34

Bob Gumbley

An 87-year-old burglary victim died in hospital after his right hand was "skinned" by intruders who also broke his ribs and punched him in the face, a murder trial has heard.

Jurors were told that Arthur Gumbley was attacked by two men after approaching his killers in a friendly way and asking them why they were inside his home.

The Crown alleges that Jason Wayne Wilsher, of Barlestone Road, Bagworth, Leicestershire, was one of the men who attacked the victim at his property in Little Aston, Sutton Coldfield, in November 2017, stealing a watch and jewellery.

Wilsher, 20, denies murdering Mr Gumbley, who walked with the aid of a stick, and taking part in a conspiracy to rob between November 18 and 26 2017.

Opening the case against Wilsher at Stafford Crown Court, prosecutor Jacob Hallam QC said Mr Gumbley died about three weeks after the break-in as a result of his injuries, including four rib fractures.

Mr Hallam told the jury of seven women and five men: "Mr Gumbley was, in the early part of the evening - around 5.30pm to 6pm - sitting in his living room, watching television.

"The men who killed him broke into his kitchen. Hearing, from where he was in his home, the noise of movement somewhere else in it, Mr Gumbley got to his feet and made his way into the hallway.

"He asked them, in what he described to the police as a friendly way, what they wanted. The response he met with was immediate violence.

"He was punched to the face, knocked to the ground and at some stage kicked when he was lying on the floor."

During the assault, the court heard, skin was torn from one of Mr Gumbley's hands as a watch was pulled forcibly from his wrist, leaving a "brutal and striking" injury.

Mr Hallam added: "He couldn't remember precisely what was done to him but his body tells its own story, tragically. It was plain from marks on his body that he had been dragged.

"This case is not only the case of a man being struck, having the skin on his hand torn off and abrasions - punches to his face caused substantial areas of bruising.

"The attackers showed no regard at all to Arthur Gumbley's age or his vulnerability. They simply saw him as a victim who needed to be overcome.

Jurors were told that Mr Gumbley was taken to hospital after his daughter phoned him when he managed to reconnect a telephone wire which had been pulled out.

Addressing the evidence against the accused, Mr Hallam said Wilsher's DNA was recovered from Mr Gumbley's home in Endwood Drive.

Telephone analysis linked Wilsher to a mobile handset "central to the case" and to the purchase of a blue Mazda car bought for £1,700 for criminal purposes, Mr Hallam alleged.

The handset, the barrister said, had been repeatedly used at an address in Tibshelf, Derbyshire, where Wilsher had lived, while also making calls to his partner and mother.

It is alleged that the conspiracy to rob saw another elderly man, living in the Creswell area of Derbyshire, suffer injuries at the hands of burglars.

The second victim told police he had his head banged onto the hearth of a fire four days after Mr Gumbley was attacked.

The trial continues on Thursday.