Burglar who beat pensioner, 87, to death in his own home jailed for 33 years

A burglar who murdered an 87-year-old pensioner in his own home has been jailed for at least 33 years.

Jason Wilsher, 20, brutally beat victim Arthur Gumbley when he broke into the OAP's house in Sutton Coldfield, West Midlands.

The killer was caught after his DNA was found at the scene of the attack on November 21, 2017.

Mr Gumbley, also known as Bob, was found in a pool of blood after the attack, and was later pictured with horrific injuries as he was treated in hospital.

He died three weeks after he was repeatedly punched and kicked.

Wilsher was sentenced to life in prison on Friday with a minimum term of 33 years.

Mr Gumbley, who set up his own plumbing merchants business more than half a century ago after serving in the military, had told investigators he had heard noises and was confronted by two men in his hallway.

As he lay injured, the men ransacked his home, fleeing with expensive gold and silver jewellery, cash and a purse belonging to Mr Gumbley's late wife.

A watch was pulled from his wrist, tearing his skin.

He was able to plug in a phone line – which had been disconnected by the burglars – and call his daughter, who contacted police.

At the time, Staffordshire Police released shocking pictures of Mr Gumbley's injuries as he lay in his hospital bed in a bid to catch his attackers.

Footage shows the bloodied and bruised pensioner describing how he found the men in his home and was attacked.

He told police he was confronted by two men and punched in the face, causing him to fall to the floor.

He said he was unable to remember what happened after he was kicked as he lay on the floor.

The court heard a pathologist Mr Gumbley died of blunt force injuries compounding cardiomegaly and other cardiac issues as a direct result of the attack.

Wilsher was convicted of murder on Thursday after jurors heard that his DNA was found on a drawer handle in Mr Gumbley's bedroom.

Just four days after targeting Mr Gumbley, Wilsher was part of a group which attacked another elderly man, Dennis Taylor, in his home in Derbsyhire.

Mr Taylor was hit with a baseball bat and had a knife pushed through his lip.

Wilsher was also found guilty of conspiracy to commit robbery in relation to the attack on Mr Taylor on November 25, 2017.

He was handed a 16 year sentence to run concurrently.

DCI Dan Ison, who headed the investigation, said after Wilsher was convicted on Thursday: “I am pleased that the jury has returned this verdict, but our first thoughts are with Arthur and his family.

“This was a planned and totally unnecessary attack on an 87-year-old man in his own home. The injuries sustained by Arthur were brutal and horrific.

"Arthur had his eye blacked and his arms were covered in bruising. He also suffered a number of fractured ribs likely to have been caused from a fall or a blow.”

DCI Ison credited "good old-fashioned policing" for the break in the case.

He said detectives "worked meticulously and doggedly" to trace the getaway car and went through hours of CCTV, phone records and questioning to identify Wilsher as a suspect.

He added: “It was months of hard work that identified him and it is startling that the science of DNA proves effectively Wilsher is the only man in Europe who could've contributed to the sample found at Arthur's home.

"The investigation into the outstanding individuals responsible for Arthur's death continues."

Police had launched a number of appeals, including one which aired on the BBC's Crimewatch Roadshow.

In moving eulogies at their dad's funeral, daughters Sue and Sandra and son Michael spoke of their pride at having an attentive father with a steel-strong moral compass.

He was buried in the same plot as his wife Barbara, who died in 2005, and son Robert, tragically killed in a motorbike accident aged only 16.

Sue said of the funeral: "They all had very good words to say about dad. People from 40 years ago told us how dad always helped them."

She added: "He could be a strict father. He taught us to work hard and if you worked hard you would get something in life.

"If you couldn't afford it, you didn't have it – that's what dad told us. No matter what, you always paid your debt."

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