Man jailed for 14 years for Christmas Day robbery

A man has been jailed for 14 years following a robbery on Christmas Day in 2019 in Kirkby.

Gary Groves, 55, of Fazakerley, was sentenced at Liverpool Crown Court on Friday 23 June after being found guilty of robbery following a trial last month.

On 25 December 2019, a woman called Sarah Howitt knocked at the door of a home on Cleveland Close and pretended to need help.

Two masked men, now known to be Gary Groves and Geoffrey Hayes, forced their way into the property and searched for valuable items.

While in the property, a woman aged in her 60s was assaulted and later forced her into her own car – an Audi TT – before it was driven away by Hayes.

The car was then involved in a collision shortly afterwards on Bank Lane/Melrose Road and the victim sustained serious injuries.

Two people were sentenced in connection to this incident in December 2020:

  • Geoffrey Hayes, 47, of no fixed abode, was jailed for 14 and a half years
  • Sarah Howitt, 42, of Barrow-in-Furness, Cumbria, was jailed for four and a half years 

Groves is the third person to be jailed for this incident.

Detective Inspector James Rotheram said, “I’m delighted that Groves is now facing a lengthy prison sentence and he will have plenty of time to reflect on his appalling actions that night.

“We were always determined to put all three people before the courts, no matter how long it took, so it’s a relief that Groves has now been removed from our streets.

“I can only imagine how terrifying this would have been for the people who lived in this home. To be assaulted in your own home, especially on Christmas Day, must have been incredibly traumatic.

“I hope that the family can now take comfort from the fact all three people involved in this incident are now behind bars.

“Our message to offenders involved in robberies is clear – there is no hiding place. We will use all evidence available to us to track you down and put you before the courts.”

Image: Merseyside Police/Gary Groves

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