Alleged murderer 'killed two pensioners during vicious house raids'

Amos Wilsher, 28, is alleged to have murdered two victims in their 80s, while his brother Jason is accused of one murder and conspiracy to rob.

Arthur Gumbley
Arthur Gumbley

An alleged intruder killed two elderly homeowners during separate “vicious” burglaries, a double murder trial has heard.

Amos Wilsher is on trial at Coventry Crown Court, accused of murdering 87-year-old Arthur Gumbley and Josephine Kaye, 88, in 2017 and 2020.

The 28-year-old’s younger brother, Jason, is also on trial at the same court, accused of the murder of widower Mr Gumbley, who died in December 2017, three weeks after being punched and kicked at his home in Endwood Drive, Little Aston, Staffordshire.

The brothers deny murder, as well as further charges of conspiracy to rob and wounding with intent relating to a third pensioner who was attacked at his home in Derbyshire.

Opening the case against both men on Thursday, prosecution QC Simon Denison said 22-year-old Jason Wilsher, Amos Wilsher and a third man are alleged to have driven to retired business owner Mr Gumbley’s bungalow on the evening of Tuesday November 21 2017.

They are also alleged to have been involved in a 2017 attack on a third victim, Dennis Taylor, in Creswell, near Bolsover.

The Crown alleges that Amos Wilsher acted alone at the home of Mrs Kaye in Stoke-on-Trent on the night of Thursday February 27 2020, wearing a mask and gloves as he broke her leg and stole cash.

She also died in hospital around three weeks after being injured.

The barrister said of Mr Gumbley: “A team of three robbers shattered the calm routine of his life.

“That team of three had travelled to Little Aston in a Mazda RX8 car that had been bought in London the previous day to be used in their criminal activities.

“They had travelled south from the Tibshelf area of Derbyshire. They had driven round the area where Arthur Gumbley lived, looking for easy targets.

“Two of them broke into his home by smashing the window in the kitchen door at the back of the house and turning the key to unlock it.

“When he went to investigate, they subjected him to a vicious assault inside his own home. They punched him in the face, knocking him to the ground.

“They kicked him in the shoulder and back, they dragged him through his house, they ripped his watch from his wrist, tearing the fragile skin from the back of his hand.

“They ransacked his house, and they took money, items of jewellery that had belonged to his late wife, and a number of antique items that he had accumulated over the course of his long life.”

The violence inflicted on Mr Gumbley, the court was told, also caused bruising to his face and injury to his brain, four displaced rib fractures, and bruising to his body and arms.

The pensioner was taken to hospital where he was treated for his injuries, but their effect “was too much for his body to withstand” and he died on December 12 2017.

Mr Taylor, 82, was attacked in 2017, four days after Mr Gumbley, when three robbers drove in the Mazda RX8 car to an isolated farmhouse – with all three wearing masks and gloves.

The court heard that they forced their way into the property – after claiming to be police – and knocked Mr Taylor to the ground, before beating him repeatedly, including with a baseball bat.

He suffered cuts to his face and neck, bruising to his face and body, and fractures to his nose and to two fingers.

Mr Denison went on: “On the evening of Thursday 27th February 2020 a further robbery was committed.

“The victim was Josephine Kaye. She was 88 years old, and she was just 4ft 8in tall.

“She lived alone in a bungalow in Stoke-on-Trent, where she had lived for many years. Like Arthur Gumbley, she had worked hard all her life to provide for and support her family.

Josephine Kaye murder
Josephine Kaye, who prosecutors allege was killed by Amos Wilsher acting alone (Staffordshire Police/PA)

“She was attacked in her home on that Thursday evening by one man, acting alone. He wore a mask and gloves.

“He gained entry into her home by ringing on the doorbell, and, when she answered it, he claimed to be a policeman and he forced her inside. He subjected her to a vicious assault inside her own home. He ripped her ‘lifeline’ security pendant from her wrist.

“He repeatedly threw her to the ground, he dragged her through her home and he threatened her with a screwdriver. He found her safe in a cupboard and demanded that she tell him the code, which she couldn’t do.”

Prosecutors allege that Amos Wilsher then used the screwdriver to rip the safe from the cupboard, making off from the widow’s home in Harington Drive, Park Hall, with a large amount of cash, as well as the safe.

Meanwhile, Mrs Kaye was taken to hospital for treatment for a leg fracture and significant bruising.

Mr Denison told the court: “While in hospital she was able to tell the police what she could remember of what had happened.

“But, as with Arthur Gumbley, she had a number of pre-existing medical conditions, and her age and her frailty were such that the effect of the injuries inflicted, and the complications they caused, were too great for her body to withstand. She died in hospital on Tuesday 17 March 2020.

“The prosecution case is that Amos Wilsher was the male who forced his way into Josephine Kaye’s home and robbed her and inflicted the injuries that caused her death.”

Amos and Jason Wilsher, both formerly of Tibshelf, near Alfreton, deny the charges.

The trial continues.

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