Two of the three men accused of taking part in the burglary when a millionaire insurance executive was “left for dead” after being shot at his £3million mansion bedroom door in Sible Hedingham, were found guilty today.
After a marathon eight week trial at Chelmsford Crown Court a jury of seven men and five women took 17 and a half hours to reach their verdicts. But the two defendants found guilty will have to wait until the week beginning January 23 to hear their fate.
However, they have already been warned to expect jail. Judge David Turner QC, ordering pre-sentence reports said: “They are facing a very substantial sentence.”
Victim Timothy Mardon, 51, was woken in the early hours of the morning at his home to see intruders outside before they arrived at his locked bedroom at The Old Rectory, Sible Hedingham.
The intruders who were armed with a shot-gun shot through the door and hit Mr Mardon in the leg before two of them burst into the room. Mr Mardon was subjected to 30-minutes of questioning and threats all recorded in a 999-call before the intruders left the court was told.
The gunman Charlie Simms, 22, of North Road, Great Yeldham, was found guilty of attempted murder, aggravated burglary and possessing a fire arm with intent to endanger life.
Christopher Bergin, 28 of Hawkwood Road, Sible Hedingham, was convicted of aggravated burglary, wounding with intent and possessing a firearm with intent to endanger life.
The third defendant, Kalebh Shreeve, 24, of Gibson Road, Sible Hedingham, was found not guilty of aggravated burglary, wounding with intent, possessing a firearm with intent to endanger life, and possessing a firearm while committing an offence. He walked free from the court after being discharged by the judge.
Charges of wounding with intent and possessing a firearm while committing an offence against Simms and an offence of possessing a firearm while committing an offence against Bergin were ordered to lie on the file.
As the judge addressed the jury to discharge them shouting broke out among the two defendants left in the dock. Bergin was taken out of the dock leaving Simms on his own.
A Tudor Heritage watch worth 3,000 dollars and a wallet containing UK and foreign currency were taken during the incident on February 6 this year and Mr Mardon, who was said to have been in a “living nightmare,” since the incident would have died without hospital treatment.
During the hearing Richard Christie, QC, prosecuting, told the court : “This was a brutal attack, Mr Mardon was asleep, was woken and looked outside to see men circling the windows. He called 999 and the phone line remained open, recording the conversation.
“In those minutes, they smashed their way in, blasted him in the leg with a shotgun, threatened to kill him and left him for dead. They left him in a living nightmare.”
Although they were looking for drugs, said Mr Christie, there were none – Mr Mardon who spent most of his time in Bermuda had “nothing to do with drugs” having a “highly paid job in insurance”.
During the recorded tape, an un-named voice repeated: “Where’s the weed at?, where’s the money at? Where’s weed at or I’ll blow your face off – I’ll blow your f….ing brains out.”
In evidence Mr Mardon told the court The raiders had said “Where’s the weed money?”
He continued: “I had no idea what he was talking about. He was pointing the gun directly at my head.”
Fearing for his life, Mr Mardon told the gunman about his wallet, watch and classic cars worth £70,000 “to placate him,” and when, again, the gunman threatened to kill him, he replied: “I am dying already.”
He said that the gunman told him: “I’ve shot you in the leg, you’re not going to die.”