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Second man jailed for role in college burglary

By Dominic Robertson | Newtown | Crime | Published:

A second man has been jailed for a burglary at a college during which a caretaker was attacked.

Billy Lau, 21, received a 16-month prison sentence which the judge ruled would not be suspended and would have to be served immediately.

The court heard that in August 2017 the defendant and another man travelled to Newtown College to carry out the burglary.

“You would have known that the other man, the father of your fiancee, was nothing less than a career burglar,” Judge Niclas Parry told him.

Lau, of Rowley Regis, claimed he did not know what was going to happen and that he was an unwilling participant but the court heard he had gone with a mask.

The two of them had removed tools from the carpentry department to the value of £2,000 when they were confronted by two caretakers. The intruders were brandishing weapons and when there was a fight Lau, acting under direction, struck one of the men on the head, causing a serious injury.

At an earlier hearing, co-defendant Stuart Jones was jailed for four years after he denied burglary and assault but was convicted. Judge Parry, sitting at Mold Crown Court, said the victim, James McBride, had described Jones as the leader. Jones, 41, of Tipton, Sandwell, had a “shocking” criminal record of 349 offences.

Richard Edwards, prosecuting, said during the early hours of August 20 last year a burglary occurred at Newtown College.

Caretakers Mr McBride and Carl Mullinder were alerted by the burglar alarm and found two men in the carpentry department with their hoods up. One male jumped towards Mr McBride while brandishing a hammer, then shouted “hit him, Billy.”

Lau then struck Mr McBride over the head with what Mr McBride thought was a screwdriver. They both then ran from the scene. Lau was arrested after his DNA was found on a mask.

Lau, who has learning difficulties, was said to have acted under the influence of Jones. But since the burglary in 2017 he had changed. He had a partner, they were expecting their first child, he had joined a church and he was leading a crime-free life.

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