‘Sadistic’ robbers impaled Leeds student’s hand with pair of scissors

CAGED: Richard Holmes (left) and Adam Mather.
CAGED: Richard Holmes (left) and Adam Mather.
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A STUDENT had a pair of scissors driven through his hand as he was held prisoner and robbed by two “sadistic” career thugs.

A court heard one of the attackers jumped on the scissors to force them through the victim’s hand during the attack before they threatened to do the same to his feet and cut off his ear.

The Leeds University student was subjected to an ordeal that lasted more than two hours after he was targeted as he crossed a railway bridge in the Hyde Park area of Leeds.

Adam Mather was given a 15 year sentence and Richard Holmes was jailed for more than eight years after they both pleaded guilty to robbery and wounding with intent.

Mather, 36, who has a long history of committing serious violent offences, and accomplice Holmes, 34, were high on a combination of premium strength lager, heroin, methadone and crack cocaine when they carried out the attack on the evening of October 14 last year.

Richard Clews, prosecuting, described how the student was targeted at 8pm as he crossed the bridge off Cardigan Road.

He feared he was going to be killed as one of men smashed a glass bottle before holding it against his throat.

He was ordered to hand over his bank cards and disclose the pin numbers before Mather walked to cash machines while Holmes held him prisoner.

Mather, of no fixed address, then returned after being unable to obtain any cash and told the student: “We will kill you. We are professionals. We do this a lot.”

The victim then wrote the pin numbers down and Mather went back in search of cash machines. As Holmes, of Mitford Terrace, Armley, was holding the victim captive, he managed to reach for a pair of scissors from his pencil case and tried to use them to defend himself.

Holmes overpowered him by head butting and punching him to the face. When Mather returned Holmes told him what had happened. Mather then took the scissors and said: “I’m going to stick these through you hand.”

Holmes then held the student down while Mather stabbed him in the palm.

Mr Clews said: “Mather stamped on the protruding scissors to make sure they went right through the palm and right through and impaled the hand on the ground.”

Mather then threatened to put the scissors through the victim’s feet and cut off an ear before Holmes used them to stab him in the palm of his other hand.

Mather went back to the cash machine and withdrew £200. The student was then given his bank cards back and ordered to wipe them clean of finger prints before the attackers finally left him.

The court heard the student had to undergo an operation and received plastic surgery on his hand injury. His injuries are still severe after he suffered nerve damage. He can no longer write properly and may not be able to continue with his studies.

Mather and Holmes were arrested short distances from the attack later that evening and initially tried to deny their involvement.

Anthony Sugare, for Mather, said: “This is an horrendous crime, even as far as crimes go in this court.”

Graham Parkin, for Holmes, said his client was full of disbelief and shame at what he had done and wished to write to the victim to say sorry.

Judge Geoffrey Marson QC, gave Mather an 11-year prison sentence but told him he must serve an extended licence period of four years upon release.

He said: “One cannot begin to imagine the terror that this victim must have felt.”

He added: “I accept that neither of you took these scissors to the scene. But there came a time, Mather, when you lost your temper and you were handed them by Holmes.

“There was what can only be described as a sadistic use of violence.”

After the case, Det Insp John Dexter, of West Yorkshire Police, said: “This was an absolutely appalling incident where a completely unnecessary level of violence was used against the victim over a prolonged ordeal. It has had an unmeasurably traumatic impact on him and left him with lasting physical injuries which have jeopardised his future.

“The actions of Mather and Holmes show they are clearly very dangerous individuals and we hope it will provide some degree of comfort to the victim to see them brought to justice and given significant prison sentences.”

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