String of arrests after shocking crime spree

A string of suspects have appeared at courts or were in custody today after police made a series of arrests over crimes which sent shockwaves through communities at Christmas.

Susan Buckley was attending a bail hearing at Wolverhampton Crown Court today charged with murder after her partner died in a house fire on Christmas Day.

She appeared before magistrates yesterday in connection with the death of 58-year-old Geoffrey Carter in South Street Gardens, Caldmore, Walsall and was remanded in custody.

Joseph Nicholas Moscicki is behind bars accused of murdering popular war veteran Bernard James Smith, known as Jim, in a hit-and-run in Stafford. Moscicki, of Little Acres, Gorse Ride North, Finchampstead, Wokingham, appeared at Stoke-on-Trent Crown Court in Hanley yesterday. The 22-year-old was remanded in custody to appear at Stafford Crown Court on January 17. No application for bail was made. He also faces a charge of failing to provide a specimen of breath.

Mr Smith, aged 83, was discovered in the street at the junction of Shakespeare Road and Wordsworth Avenue on the Highfields estate in Stafford at around 12.50am on Christmas Day.

Meanwhile, two young men have each been remanded in custody accused of kidnap and robbery, also on Christmas Day. The allegations follow an incident where a 20-year-old man was bundled into a car after a row with another driver in Chapel Ash just off the Wolverhampton ring road at around 1.15am on December 25.

The victim was then reportedly driven around the city for around 30 minutes and beaten up before managing to escape from the moving car near to Moseley Old Hall. He was badly injured and needed two days of hospital treatment.

Alex Bradley, aged 21, of Old Fallings Lane, in Fallings Park, and a 17-year-old youth, who cannot be named for legal reasons, appeared before Wolverhampton Magistrates yesterday accused of kidnapping the man and robbing him.

Bradley was remanded in custody while the younger defendant will be kept in youth detention until the pair next appear at Wolverhampton Crown Court on January 10.

And a man has been arrested following a robbery at a bookmakers. A man entered William Hill betting shop, in Comberton Hill, Kidderminster, at about 5pm on Sunday brandishing a knife and left with cash from the till. A man in his 40s was arrested later that evening and was today in custody assisting with inquiries.

The flurry of arrests comes as police said the death of a man found drowned in a shallow garden pond remains a mystery. Police are continuing to treat the death of 41-year-old Paul Humphries in Kidderminster as unexplained. He was found in Chaucer Crescent, Kidderminster, on Boxing Day.