Pair jailed after terrifying drug-fuelled rampage

Craig Short (left) and Paul Skidmore
Craig Short (left) and Paul Skidmore

TWO armed robbers who carried out terrifying drug-fuelled attacks have been caged for more than 13 years.

One of Paul Skidmore’s victims was his own uncle, who he smashed in the face with the butt of an air rifle, while he threatened to kill another man in front of his two-year-old child.

During his horrific attacks the 30-year-old was helped by pal Craig Short, 22, after drink and drugs-fuelled rampages.

A court heard Short, of Elwick Road, Hartlepool, pinned Christopher Skidmore against kitchen cupboards while pointing a six-inch blade to his throat.

Paul Skidmore, of Colwyn Road, Hartlepool, then pulled an air rifle out and told his uncle it was loaded, Teesside Crown Court heard.

Prosecuting, Matthew Bean said: “Skidmore pointed the rifle at the side of the complainant’s head and said ‘I want your money and your skunk’.”

When Mr Skidmore said he didn’t have any, Skidmore said: “Just give us the money, we will go.”

Mr Bean added: “He hit the complainant in the left eye area with the butt of the gun. Short said ‘I will have a go, I will kill him’.

“Skidmore checked the complainant’s pockets for money and Short pointed the knife at the complainant’s stomach and said ‘I will stab you up, I will kill you, I’m his right-hand man, no-one will put me in jail, I’ve just come to help him’.”

Mr Skidmore was bundled into a car along with his girlfriend and driven to another house in Hartlepool to get £1,000 for his attackers.

The victim was disturbed after the night-time attack on May 30 that he left his home-town and has never returned.

While still at large on June 2, Paul Skidmore and Short targeted another couple at their home in Hartlepool in another desperate bid to get cash.

Skidmore burst into the bedroom of Gary Moorhead, where Mr Moorhead’s two year old son was also sleeping.

Mr Bean added: “Skidmore told him he was going to ‘tax’ Christopher Skidmore and other people.”

The court heard he told Mr Moorhead to get up and get dressed, and added: “If you don’t get up now I’m going to kill you here in front of your child, I don’t care.”

Skidmore went downstairs and he and Short, along with Robert Beevers, 22, were passing vodka around the living room.

Skidmore went into the kitchen and returned with a bread knife, and what Mr Moorhead believed to be a rolling pin.

After hitting him with the blade of the knife, Skidmore took Mr Moorhead to a cash-point machine while holding a knife, but found his victim was overdrawn and could not get any money.

Mr Moorhead fled in fear to bring his two-hour ordeal to an end and when he returned home found his girlfriend shaking in terror.

A third man, Robert Beevers, was with the other two on the second raid, but was too drunk to take an active part, the court was told.

Skidmore, who has three service station robberies on his record, and Short admitted robbery and possession of a firearm on May 30, and attempted robbery and the theft of a laptop on June 2.

Skidmore also admitted possession of cocaine on June 2 and Beevers admitted theft of a laptop and possession of cannabis on June 2.

Nicholas Lumley, mitigating for Skidmore, said: “This was an isolated band of offending over a couple of days.

“The level of violence was relatively modest and the offences were committed at a time when the defendant was taking great strides of rehabilitation.”

Jim Withyman, for Short, said: “The defendant realises it would be a considerable sentence today, and what he has done is offered threats rather than actually offering violence.”

Beevers’ barrister, Richard Herrmann, said Beevers was “in the wrong place at the wrong time” and “stands in a completely dfifferent category to the two co-accused”.

Judge Howard Crowson, branding the offences “disturbing” and “unpleasant”, sentenced Skidmore to seven years and four months in prison, Short to six years in prison and Beevers to an 18-month community order with 150 hours of unpaid work.