Two “evil” brothers who murdered vulnerable pensioners during “vicious” robberies have been jailed for life.
Amos Wilsher, 29, and Jason Wilsher, 23, inflicted fatal injuries on retired businessman Arthur Gumbley, 87, after breaking into his bungalow in Little Aston, Staffordshire.
Amos Wilsher was also convicted of murdering great-grandmother Josephine Kaye, 88, at home in Stoke-on-Trent, arriving alone posing as a gas worker.
He is already serving a 12-year term, passed in 2020 for beating a pensioner around the head in Brentwood, Essex, in 2018, Coventry Crown Court heard.
On Friday, he was handed two life terms and must serve a minimum of 38 years – as sentencing judge, Mr Justice Henshaw, said he posed a “significant risk to members of the public of serious harm”.
Jason Wilsher was sentenced to life with a minimum of 25 years behind bars.
But the judge decided not to impose a whole life order on Amos Wilsher, telling both brothers the murders are “mitigated by your lack of intention to kill” .Both men – described in court as being members of a large family from the Traveler community with links to Derbyshire and Leicestershire – were convicted of murder after a trial at the court.
They were also convicted of conspiracy to rob and wounding with intent after attacking a third pensioner, 82-year-old Dennis Taylor, at his home near Bolsover, Derbyshire – days before Mr Gumbley.
Arthur Gumbley’s injuries “too much to withstand”
The brothers, together with a third accomplice, smashed their way into Mr Gumbley’s home before punching him in the face, kicking him in the shoulder and back, then dragging him through his property, the court heard.
“They ripped his watch from his wrist, tearing the fragile skin from the back of his hand,” said prosecutor Simon Denison QC.
“They ransacked his house, and they took money, items of jewelery that had belonged to his late wife, and a number of antique items that he had accumulated over the course of his long life.”
He suffered a brain injury, rib fractures and widespread bruising after his ordeal and died in hospital three weeks later on 12 December, 2017.
Pictures of his injuries were released by the police to the media, with the consent of his family, in a bid to catch his killers.
Jason Wilsher was found guilty of Mr Gumbley’s murder in 2019 but granted a retrial, despite DNA evidence linking him to the scene.
What happened to Josephine Kaye?
Irish-born Mrs Kaye, who was just 4ft 8in and lived alone, was thrown to the floor and suffered a broken leg on 27 February, 2020.
She died in hospital the following month, jurors heard.
Amos Wilsher escaped with a safe containing £ 20,000 but was linked to the murder by DNA evidence found on items including a screwdriver, hat, security light and soap tin, together with a fingerprint on the side of a car.
He was arrested at a hotel and spa in Lincoln two weeks after the attack.
Dennis Taylor survived despite ‘significant injuries’
Three masked men including the Wilsher siblings pretended to be police officers before launching a brutal attack on Mr Taylor on 25 November, 2017, leaving him with a broken nose and fractured fingers.
They rained blows on him using a baseball bat and walking stick before fleeing the scene with £ 800 cash, watches and jewelery.
“Justice has been done”
Relatives of Mr Gumbley, known as “Bob”, said in a statement: “We now have justice for the murder of our dad and we can move forward with our lives.”
Mrs Kaye’s daughter, Barbara, paid tribute to her “kind, generous and compassionate mother”.
“Whilst we accept this verdict, nothing can bring my dearest mum back to me or my family,” she added.
“She has been taken from us far too early, and in such a senseless cruel and evil way, perpetrated by pure evil.”
Mr Taylor’s family described their pride at him attending court and giving evidence, now aged 86, and said “justice has now been served”.