Your Telegraph helps to jail jewel raider 27 years after armed heist
A PENSIONER has been jailed for 12 years after being convicted of a 1986 armed robbery by police who used cuttings from the Derby Telegraph to help build their case.
Barrie Rhodes is the second man to be found guilty of an armed robbery in the 1980s after matches were found when fingerprints were taken for unrelated matters and scanned through a national database of prints.
Rhodes, 65, was convicted by a jury on Friday of being one of two men who walked into Jeanian Jewellers, in Derby, with a sawn-off shotgun, on July 10, in 1986.
Other than fingerprint marks gathered from the crime scene, very little remained from the original investigation and police studied Derby Telegraph reports of the raid to help gather evidence.
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Rhodes came to the police's attention as a suspect for the 1986 raid when he was arrested in 2010 for an unrelated matter. Fingerprints taken were found to match those from the 1986 raid, which had been unloaded to the computerised national database.
Jailing Rhodes, of Monument Lane, Ironville, Judge Nigel Godsmark QC said: "This was a planned robbery of a commercial premises, they were obviously the target.
"The planning involved making an appointment and arriving in the guise of professional trades people."
He said the men had walkie-talkie radios and a briefcase, with live shotgun cartridges inside.
Nottingham Crown Court heard that the weapon was pointed at the head of Irene Hardy who was working in the shop but they ran off empty-handed after her husband, Alan, fought them off and set off the alarm.
"Mrs Hardy's son told us she was never the same (after the raid)," said Judge Godsmark. The judge said to Rhodes he accepted this had been "one serious offence" in an otherwise "useful and productive life".
The judge commended Detective Constable Mike Stott, the officer on the case, saying it had "not been an easy investigation" because of the lack of material left from the original inquiry.
Following the sentencing, Det Con Stott said: "This raid really traumatised the Hardy family and I think the substantial sentence given represents that."
In 2010, Rhodes' brother-in-law Alan Murray, of Pilmoor, near York, was jailed for 10 years after he admitted his part in a robbery at Lloyds Bank in Cromford in September 1985.