TWO brothers who disguised themselves as police officers, broke into a house and tortured a man while his wife and children were in another room have been jailed.
James Plunkett, 32 and his brother Daniel, 27, tied up the wife and children then stamped on the man, threatened to inject him with a syringe that they told him was full of HIV infected blood and held a gun to his face.
The pair, from Peronne Close, Portsmouth, were given indeterminate sentences for the public protection and told they will not be released for at least 10 years at Southampton Crown Court.
They denied the offences but were found guilty of aggravated burglary and false imprisonment after subjecting a family to a terrible ordeal at their home in Southampton on 5 November 2010.
Following the sentence, Marie Watton, Senior Crown Prosecutor for the Crown Prosecution Service in Wessex said: ‘James and Daniel Plunkett are callous individuals who have subjected a couple and their two children to acts of extreme violence.’
Disguised as police officers and pretending they had a search warrant, they raided the family’s house in Bassett Green Road, Southampton, on the night of November 5, 2010 in order to rob them.
They restrained the family with handcuffs and plastic ties and ordered the father to open a safe in his bedroom so they could steal £37,000 along with expensive watches and jewellery.
The stolen items were later found inside chests in a lock-up in Southampton Road, Fareham, which was being rented by Daniel Plunkett.
They then separated him from his wife and children and took him to the garage where he was assaulted.
‘They stamped on his head, causing him to scream,’ Ms Watton said.
‘His wife, horrified could hear her husband’s cries but was unable to help as she was herself under the control of the defendants.
‘They then pushed a syringe filled with red fluid into the father’s buttock and told him it was HIV infected blood and they would inject it if he’d failed to co-operate with them.
‘They placed a gun next to his cheek and threatened the terrified dad by saying they would torture his children in front of him before killing him if he ever reported what had happened. ‘These criminals wanted to make sure that by terrorising our victims, they would not report the crime to the police.
‘However, Hampshire Constabulary acted on intelligence and visited the family six days later asking them to make a formal complaint. ‘The CPS was able to bring this case to court thanks to a painstaking and thorough investigation by Hampshire Constabulary and the expertise and professionalism of our in-house CPS Crown Advocate, Rob Welling. ‘It is difficult to imagine the ordeal this poor family went through that night. We have no doubt that the impact of this attack will unfortunately have a lasting effect upon them, but we hope that with this prosecution and these sentences they will be able to rebuild their lives. ‘Our thoughts are with them.’