Gunpoint terror: Man, 65, thought he would die

Bog Hall scene setter.
Bog Hall scene setter.
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A pensioner was battered with the barrel of a sawn-off shotgun after two armed thugs broke into his home in Whitby.

Daniel Barr, 65, was making a sandwich in readiness for a fishing trip when Dean Firth and Karl Hill burst into his living room with the imitation weapon.

The terrified Scotsman was thrown back into the kitchen at gunpoint where Hill, who pressed the butt of the gun to the pensioner’s chin, gave him a “savage” beating with the weapon, striking him with numerous blows to the head, back and chest, and punching him repeatedly as he demanded Mr Barr tell him where he kept his cash.

Mr Barr, who thought he was about to die, was semi-conscious as he was dragged up the stairs to his bedroom, where the two raiders - one of them wearing a balaclava - grabbed some Scottish bank notes, bank cards and an Omega watch, before fleeing.

Outside in a car was 77-year-old Alan Bendelow, who was waiting to drive Firth and Hill to their home town of Dewsbury.

A police armed response unit went looking for them after Mr Barr’s neighbour called 999. They later stopped the car on the A64 near Pickering. Bendelow was at the wheel, with Firth and Hill in the back along with the Scottish notes, Mr Barr’s bank and health cards, his watch and the sawn-off shotgun.

All three men were arrested and charged with aggravated burglary and possessing an imitation firearm as part of a joint enterprise.

Firth, 46, of Green Close, Dewsbury, and Hill, 44, of Halifax Road, admitted the offences and are awaiting sentence.

Bendelow, also of Halifax Road, appeared at York Crown Court for trial this week after denying both charges, claiming he had merely driven Firth and Hill and had no idea of their intentions.

Prosecuting barrister Pater Sabiston said Mr Barr was known to Hill and possibly Firth. They had been driven over to Mr Barr’s secluded home at Bog Hall, off Waterstead Lane, on July 2 last year.

Mr Sabiston said the two men were convinced that Mr Barr had lots of money in his house and were under the mistaken impression that he also had cannabis.

Once inside the property, Hill gave Mr Barr a “thorough beating” with the gun in what Mr Sabiston described as a “horrifying” incident.

As Hill rained down blow after blow with the shotgun, he threatened to kill Mr Barr if he didn’t tell him where he kept his money.

Hill then told Firth to lock the door so Mr Barr couldn’t get out, before dragging him up the stairs and dumping him on the bedroom floor as blood poured from his wounds.

“At one point he thought they were going to kill him,” said Mr Sabiston. Yesterday a jury unanimously found Bendelow not guilty of all charges, agreeing he did not know what Firth and Hill had planned.