Men sentenced over GBH plot which ended in the death of innocent Sidney Cox at Thorpe

Police at Middleton Lane in Thorpe, Wakefield, after Sidney Cox's murder.
Police at Middleton Lane in Thorpe, Wakefield, after Sidney Cox's murder.

An armed gang’s cold blooded revenge attack culminated in the brutal murder of an innocent man.

Sidney Cox, 57, was viciously beaten and stabbed at Thorpe Court Yard, Thorpe in August 2013 following a minor dispute within the travelling community at Lee Gap Horse Fair.

The target of the violence should have been Benjamin Reynolds, a friend of Mr Cox, at his home in Thorpe Court Yard.

But Leeds Crown Court heard how Mr Reynolds narrowly escaped after the gates of his home were smashed down by a stolen recovery truck.

A brutal attack was launched on Mr Cox. He died from a combination of his multiple injuries.

Reporting restrictions were lifted on the case this week following conclusion of legal proceedings.

In the first trial, earlier this year, brothers Ambrose Dear, 40 and Michael Dear, 39, of Hobby’s Paddock, Doncaster, were convicted of murdering Mr Cox and conspiracy to cause grievous bodily harm to Mr Reynolds.

They were both sentenced to life in prison with a minimum of 18 years in custody. The trial judge said they had been sentenced for encouraging others to violence.

Two other men, John Nicholson 24, and Karl Gaskin, 41, were convicted on the conspiracy charge. Gaskin, was jailed for 10 years and Nicholson for seven years.

A second trial was scheduled for earlier this week but five men pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit GBH on Mr Reynolds.

Mr Justice Edis, sentencing the five conspirators today (Thursday), said: “None of you is guilty of murder or manslaughter. What you were part of is the taking of the law into your own hands and thereby calculated violence. Utterly lawless conduct was unleashed.”

Hannibal Riley, 35 of Barnaby Dun Road, Doncaster, who used his expert motoring knowledge to enable the delivery truck to be stolen was jailed for six years and six months. He was not present at the attack scene where the truck was used as a battering ram.

Patrick Stewart, 42, of Heath Common, Doncaster Road, Wakefield was jailed for seven years. The father-of-six was involved in the unsuccessful pursuit of Mr Reynolds after he fled his home.

Reynolds Tunney, 53 of Mill Lane, Brigg, Humberside, was also jailed for seven years.

Mr Justice Edis said: “In cold blood you joined in someone else’s fight for no reason that’s been explained to me.”

He drove a car in the convoy but did not get out at the scene.

Father and son Robert Gaskin, 37, and Larry Gaskin, 19, were also jailed.

The dad, of Stocksbridge Lane, Bentley, Doncaster received eight years while his son was sent to a young offenders’ institution for six years and eight months.

The judge said the duo were “early recruits to this enterprise”.

Det Supt Jon Morgan, from West Yorkshire Police, said: “Sid Cox was brutally attacked and left for dead when a dispute he had absolutely nothing to do with exploded into completely unnecessary violence.

“He was attacked purely because he was the only man around when this group arrived at the farm intent on vengeance following an earlier fallout.

“The people responsible for his death are fairly described as organised criminals who are prepared to use serious violence to settle scores regardless of the terrible consequences.

“They like to think of themselves as untouchable but this case should clearly demonstrate that no-one is above the law.

“Mr Cox’s family have been left devastated by his death but we hope they can take some comfort from seeing those responsible brought to justice.”