Edward John Wilkinson and Others

JurisdictionEngland & Wales
CourtCourt of Appeal (Criminal Division)
Judgment Date28 March 1983
Judgment citation (vLex)[1983] EWCA Crim J0328-1
Date28 March 1983
Docket NumberNos. 2392/C/82, 2980/C/82, 2981/C/82, 2982/C/82, 3725/B/82, 2309/C/82 and 2446/A/82

[1983] EWCA Crim J0328-1



Royal Courts of Justice


The Lord Chief Justice of England (Lord Lane)

Mr. Justice Taylor


Mr. Justice McCowan

Nos. 2392/C/82, 2980/C/82, 2981/C/82, 2982/C/82, 3725/B/82, 2309/C/82 and 2446/A/82

Edward John Wilkinson
Kevin Michael Clements
Linda Ann McBrien
Margaret Rose Gale
Albert Edward Herring
Kevin James McBrien
Albert Edward Shedden

MR. P. UPWARD appeared on behalf of the Appellant Wilkinson.

MR. L. WOODLEY appeared on behalf of the Appellants Clements, Linda McBrien and Gale.

MR. B. REECE appeared on behalf of the Appellant Herring.

THE APPLICANTS KEVIN McBRIEN and SHEDDEN were not present and were not represented.


These are appeals and applications by a number of people who were involved to a greater or lesser extent in a series of robberies and burglaries carried out in the Home Counties.


On 20th April last year at the Central Criminal Court Kevin McBrien and Shedden pleaded guilty and were sentenced. On 23rd April last year Wilkinson pleaded guilty and was sentenced. The offences and sentences were as follows: Kevin McBrien, on four counts of robbery was sentenced to eight years' imprisonment on each; on twelve counts of burglary was sentenced to five years' imprisonment on each; all sentences were concurrent. I There were 45 other offences of burglary taken into consideration. His total sentence was one of eight years' imprisonment.


Edward John Wilkinson pleaded guilty to four counts of robbery, in respect of which he was sentenced to life imprisonment; and to seven counts of burglary in respect of which he was sentenced to eight years' imprisonment, all those sentences to run concurrently. He asked to have taken into consideration 46 other offences of burglary. So his total sentence was one of life imprisonment.


Albert Edward Shedden pleaded guilty to three counts of robbery, in respect of which he was sentenced to ten years' imprisonment on each; and to twelve counts of burglary, in respect of which he was sentenced to five years' imprisonment on each, all to run concurrently. He was also ordered to pay three compensation orders, each of some £2,900 and a car was confiscated. He had 29 other offences taken into consideration. His total sentence was therefore ten years' imprisonment.


Those were the principal actors in the burglaries and the robberies. The other appellants and applicants were not directly concerned with the robberies but were concerned as handlers to a greater or lesser degree.


Kevin Michael Clements pleaded guilty to one count of handling (count 43). He was sentenced to nine months' imprisonment suspended for two years, fined £250 and ordered to pay £200 prosecution costs, Linda McBrien, the wife of Kevin McBrien, pleaded guilty to one count of handling. She was ordered to do 120 hours community service and ordered to pay £200 prosecution costs with two months' imprisonment in default. Mrs. Margaret Gale pleaded guilty to one count of handling. She was ordered to do community service for 80 hours and pay £200 prosecution costs, with two months' imprisonment in default. Albert Edward Herring pleaded not guilty but was convicted on 29th June last year and was sentenced on ten counts of handling stolen goods to four years' imprisonment on each count to run concurrently.


There were various other people accused at the same time. Only two need be mentioned: Smith, who pleaded guilty to five counts of handling with two offences taken into consideration, was sentenced to two years' imprisonment on each, all to run concurrently; and Levy, who was convicted on two counts of handling and sentenced to twelve months' imprisonment on each to run concurrently, and he had a twelve-month suspended sentence put into operation consecutively, making two years in all.


Wilkinson, Clements, Linda McBrien, Mrs. Gale and Herring all appeal against sentence by leave of the single Judge. Kevia McBrien and Shedden renew their applications for leave to appeal against sentence after refusal by the single Judge.


The facts of the case were these. This was a highly professional exercise in crime aimed at expensive houses in rural areas. The houses were entered into usually by removing a small pane of glass. Once the men were inside, the premises were largely stripped of furniture and fittings and valuables, A Volkswagen transport van was used in order to carry away the goods.


Kevin McBrien and Wilkinson were certainly in operation together on this enterprise by March 1981, and Shedden joined them at a later stage. He was originally the link between the burglars or robbers and the principal receivers, but he assumed the role as a principal himself and started burgling and robbing with the others. Kevin McBrien had recently married Linda McBrien. They lived with Mrs. Gale, the other appellant, she being Linda's mother. Kevin McBrien brought home property. It was stored in the flat that belonged to Mrs. Gale, and eventually it came to Linda's knowledge and to Mrs. Gale's knowledge that this property was stolen, as indeed their pleas of guilty to handling indicate. Following the detection of the main offenders, the police were hot on the trail and some of the property was removed from Mrs. Gale's house and stored with Clements, the other appellant, in Islington.


It is perhaps necessary to mention one of the offences of robbery in order to see the type of activity which these men carried out. This was a case which took place in March 1981, when the house occupied by Mrs. Dunning-Aysh, aged 80, was broken into. She was in her sitting room at 8.15 in the evening. Two men came in – no doubt Wilkinson and McBrien – put a cloth over her face, tied her up and stole property worth about 3,000. One of the robbers, said to be Wilkinson, telephoned her grandson after it happened and indicated that he should go round and see his grandmother.


Other offences followed a similar pattern. There was no gratuitous violence, it can be said on their behalf. They were not armed with lethal weapons (guns, knives or that type of weapon), but they did equip themselves with sticks and that sort of thing from the house which they were ransacking, and used such objects to threaten the victims. The victims were usually tied up; sometimes the husband was invited to tie up the wife if he so wished. That was the sort of enterprise, putting the victims in great fear and causing great distress, quite apart from the loss of property. It is pointed out by Mr. Upward, on behalf of Wilkinson, that where violence was used it was on occasions when the householders were at home and the unfortunate victims were therefore tied up to keep them out of the way of the marauding burglars.


Turning then first of all to Wilkinson, who was sentenced, as indicated, to a term of life imprisonment by the learned Judge, he is a man who has spent, unhappily, most of his life behind bars. It is the common pattern, nonetheless worrying for all that, of the deprived child spending many of his early years in care. He was abandoned by his mother at the age of three months. His first five years were spent in a variety of residential homes. He was adopted at the age of 5 by a family, and even at that time he was already labelled as emotionally deprived and institutionalised, as the social enquiry report says.


He was almost in continuous custody from the age of 15. In 1974 at the Central Criminal...

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