Attack on local man ‘sickening’

A woman described as “the driving force” behind a sickening attack on a Todmorden man in his own home has been jailed for eight-and-a-half years.

Robbery victim Raymond Harper, who is understood to have died last month following a motorbike accident, was subjected to kicks and punches and even had a knife held to his throat during the attack at his home in Burnley Road, in January.

Recorder James Brown said 30-year-old Sharlene Watson had been the instigator and “driving force” behind the attack which also involved her 20-year-old accomplice Thomas Watson-McGovern.

Bradford Crown Court heard that Watson, now of Central Drive, Blackpool, had changed her plea to guilty after Mr Harper gave his evidence at a previous trial while Watson-McGovern, of Thornton Street, Halifax, was convicted of robbery by a jury following a re-trial. Watson-McGovern, who held an ornamental knife to their victim’s throat during his ordeal, was jailed for nine years.

Recorder Brown said Mr Harper had allowed Watson to stay at his home when she was down on her luck and it was clear that he was a vulnerable man.

The day before the violence Watson had seen Mr Harper with a large amount of cash and the judge said she had clearly summoned her accomplice to the house on the afternoon of the attack in order to take the money.

A third defendant, 22-year-old Cody Burrows, of Lynwood Avenue, Blackpool, pleaded guilty to handling stolen goods and was sentenced to 15 months in a young offender institution, suspended for two years.