Pensioner feared burglars were going to behead him during Staveley raid

Graham Barson, 73, of Fern Avenue, Staveley, thought he was going to be killed when two burglars raided his home.
Graham Barson, 73, of Fern Avenue, Staveley, thought he was going to be killed when two burglars raided his home.

A retired Royal Navy serviceman who had a knife held to his throat and was tied up during a terrifying burglary has told how he thought he was going to be decapitated.

Derby Crown Court heard on Tuesday, December 15, how masked raiders Julian Jarvis, 32, and James Youds, 36, struck at pensioner Graham Barson’s bungalow on Fern Avenue, Staveley, in the early hours as the 73-year-old was preparing to go fishing.

Julian Jarvis, 32, of Devonshire Close, Staveley, who was jailed for nine years for aggravated burglary and false imprisonment.

Julian Jarvis, 32, of Devonshire Close, Staveley, who was jailed for nine years for aggravated burglary and false imprisonment.

In a victim statement, Mr Barson said: “I thought they were going to harm me because I had been in the Royal Navy. I saw the mask and knife and when they put it to my throat I thought they were going to cut my head off.”

Prosecuting barrister William Donnelly said Jarvis and Youds came into Mr Barson’s bungalow via an open back door. Jarvis was armed with a knife and a walking stick and Youds had a screwdriver.

Mr Donnelly added: “Jarvis repeatedly made demands for money and Youds picked up change with cigarettes and a lighter and Mr Barson said that was all he had.

“While Youds made a search, Jarvis held Mr Barson as a prisoner in his own home. At one stage Jarvis took the screwdriver from Youds while he held a knife to Mr Barson’s throat.”

James Youds, 36, of Caulden Drive, Chesterfield, who was jailed for five years for burglary.

James Youds, 36, of Caulden Drive, Chesterfield, who was jailed for five years for burglary.

Mr Barson gave the burglars his debit card and a false pin number which Youds left with to steal £250 from his account, according to Mr Donnelly, while Jarvis continued to terrorise the pensioner.

The court heard how Jarvis tapped Mr Barson on the head with a walking stick and threatened to kill his dog Benjy if the pin was false before the complainant gave the correct number.

Mr Donnelly added: “That was not the end of his ordeal. Mr Barson was man-handled and after a brief struggle in which his hearing aid was dislodged Mr Barson gave in out of fear of being stabbed.

“Jarvis tied him up hand-and-foot with a mobile phone charger lead and with an electric heater flex. Jarvis also threatened that they would return and leave him to die.”

Mr Barson freed himself and alerted a neighbour who called police and Jarvis was arrested not far from shops near the Staveley Post Office ATM where Youds had withdrawn Mr Barson’s money.

The court heard how a witness spotted Jarvis who had hidden the cash under a hedge and police discovered the defendants’ change of clothing and a hold-all with the knife and screw driver.

Jarvis, of Devonshire Close, Staveley, pleaded guilty to aggravated burglary and false imprisonment and Youds, of Caulden Drive, Chesterfield, pleaded guilty to burglary after the incident on June 26.

Defence barrister David Webster said Jarvis, who has previous convictions, was in the throes of heroin addiction but had a plan to become drug-free and expressed remorse.

Defence barrister Adrian Reynolds said Youds, who also has previous convictions, had been involved in offending to feed a drug habit and had left the property when Mr Barson was subjected to the worse of his ordeal.

Judge Jonathan Bennett told the defendants: “Mr Barson has worked hard all his life and served his country in the Royal Navy for 12 years.

“He’s worked as a miner and he is not a wealthy man with not a lot of possessions and you put him through a frightening and horrific incident. He thought his life was going to end.”

Judge Bennett sentenced Jarvis to nine years of custody and jailed Youds for five years after he heard how they had targeted Mr Barson’s bungalow among an elderly people’s complex.

Mr Donnelly revealed that Mr Barson has since been diagnosed with post traumatic stress disorder and in his victim statement Mr Barson said there were moments when he thought he was going to be killed.

Mr Barson, who has three grandchildren, told the Derbyshire Times: “I thought they had come to decapitate me until they started asking for my money and wallet.

“When they said they were going to kill my dog I said do what you want to do to me but don’t touch my dog.

“Since this happened I have been suffering with stress and having difficulty sleeping and I don’t go out as much because I feel threatened.

“I can never forgive them for what they have done.”

Mr Barson, who is known locally as Snowy, praised police and family for their support while prosecuting barrister Mr Donnelly also praised the public who helped police apprehend Jarvis.

Derbyshire Constabulary’s Det Insp Greg McGill, of Chesterfield CID, said: “We would also like to thank the public for their part as a result of a press appeal that has resulted in the successful conviction of two repeat offenders.”

He added: “These two criminals subjected an innocent man to a terrifying ordeal in his own home.

“At one point, his life was threatened and he was forced to hand over his bank card and details so they could steal his money.

“I would like to commend Mr Barson for his bravery throughout his ordeal at the time, and the subsequent process of bringing these two men to justice.”