Two Derbyshire brothers have been found guilty of murder following the deaths of two pensioners in Staffordshire and the grievous bodily harm of another pensioner in Derbyshire.
Amos Wilsher, 30, and Jason Wayne Wilsher, 22, both of Vicar Lane, Tibshelf, were both found guilty by a jury at CoventryCrown Court today (Monday 21 February) of the murder of 87-year-old Arthur Gumbley in Little Aston near Sutton Coldfield in 2017.
The older brother, Amos, was also found guilty of the murder of 88-year-old Josephine Kaye in Park Hall, Stoke-on-Trent, in 2020.
Pictured: Arthur Gumbley and Josephine Kaye
The brothers were also found guilty of conspire to commit robbery and grievous bodily harm – wounding with intent – both in November 2017.
On the evening of 21 November 2017, robbers broke into Arthur Gumbley’s house on Endwood Drive in Little Aston. When he went to investigate they subjected him to a vicious assault inside his own home. They assaulted him numerous times, dragged him through his house and ripped his watch from his wrist, tearing the fragile skin from the back of his hand. They ransacked his house and took jewellery, antiques and money.
He was taken to hospital where he was treated for his injuries and from where he was able to tell the police what he could remember of what had happened. Tragically, he died on 12 December 2017 as a result of the attack.
Four days later, on the evening of 25 November 2017, three masked men drove to an isolated farmhouse in Cresswell, just north of Mansfield in Derbyshire. Wearing masks over their faces and gloves on their hands, they forced their way into the home of 82-year-old Dennis Taylor.
They rang the doorbell and claimed to be police officers and assaulted him repeatedly. They made off with jewellery and £800 cash. Fortunately, Dennis survived despite significant injuries.
The court heard that Amos and Jason Wilsher were two of the three people that carried out these violent robberies and that the violence used caused the death of Arthur and caused the significant injuries to the Dennis Taylor.
Following a four-month long study of CCTV detectives placed a blue Mazda RX8 in the area of the Arthur and Dennis’s homes.
It was found burnt out and abandoned near to Tibshelf on 25 November 2017 within roughly an hour of the robbery and assault of Dennis. Detectives found out it had been sold privately in London and telephone numbers involved in the sale led to Wilshers’ family members.
An alias of ‘John Smiff’ had been given and an address in Bagworth, Leicestershire was written on the V62 document. This is another Wilsher family address.
Extensive forensic work which took four weeks was carried out at Arthur’s bungalow and a DNA profile comprising three people was lifted from a drawer handle in his bedroom. Jason Wilsher’s DNA was lifted from a drawer handle in Arthur’s bedroom.
Evidence from Amos Wilsher’s electronic tag was used to place Amos Wilsher away from his home address during these offences and returning soon after they took place.
On the evening of 27 February 2020, 88-year-old Josephine Kaye was brutally attacked and robbed in her home in Park Hall, Stoke-on-Trent. A man, wearing a mask and gloves, entered her home by ringing the doorbell, and when she answered he claimed to be a policeman and forced her inside.
He ripped her ‘lifeline’ security pendant from her wrist, repeatedly assaulted her and threatened her with a screwdriver. He made off with a large amount of cash, as well as a safe.
Josephine was taken to hospital. She had suffered a broken leg, a fractured thigh bone, as well as significant bruising. Tragically, she died on 17 March 2020 as a result of the attack.
The court heard that Amos Wilsher, who was arrested on 13 March 2020, was the man who forced his way into Josephine’s home and inflicted the injuries that caused her death.
Amos Wilsher is linked to the crime scene by the presence of his DNA on the surface of security light that had been tampered with and a soap tin that the attacker had left on Josephine’s bed.
He was also scientifically linked to a grey Honda which was scientifically linked to the robbery of Josephine, as well as having been captured on CCTV driving past her house at the time she said a man came and removed a padlock from her gate.
On the back seat of the Honda there were fragments from Josephine’s cupboard, and a black woollen hat she described the man as wearing, that had Amos Wilsher’s DNA on the inside headband.
Detective Chief Inspector Dan Ison, of Staffordshire Police’s Major Investigations Department, said: “Amos and Jason Wilsher targeted elderly, vulnerable victims who lived alone. They ruthlessly and unnecessarily used violence which caused the deaths of 87-year-old Arthur Gumbley and 88-year-old Josephine Kaye. I would like to pay tribute to Dennis Taylor who survived an attackby the brothers and thank him for reliving the horrific ordeal he was subjected to which has been significant in helping secure their convictions.
“My thoughts remain with Arthur and Josephine’s families and I thank them for their support of the investigation. During the trial, they have had to listen to the detail of what happened and have conducted themselves with dignity throughout. No sentence will bring back the lives of Arthur and Josephine but I hope the convictions will provide closure knowing that justice has now been served.
“Finally, I want to thank the investigative team who have worked tirelessly for four and a half years to ensure that these two men have been removed from our streets, resulting in not only Staffordshire being a safer place but also the West Midlands region where the brothers were operating. Their commitment is humbling and I am proud to have led this investigation with such a dedicated team of police officers and staff.”
Amos and Jason Wilsher will be sentenced at Coventry Crown Court at a later date.