A COUPLE who committed a violent hammer attack robbery in Boscombe have been jailed for a combined total of more than 20 years.

Hailey Jayne Wheeler and Mark Alwyn Sanders were deemed to be dangerous offenders who posed a risk to the public.

Wheeler, 39, and Sanders, 52, robbed a woman at her flat in Sea Road in an attempt to obtain a key for a safe, which had been burgled from the victim’s house by someone else the previous day.

The pair tried to disguise their identities when they pounced on the woman, who is aged in her 30s, on the stairs of the residential block on September 24 last year.

Initially a struggle broke out between the victim and Wheeler. Sanders kicked the complainant in the head and dragged her to the door of her flat.

As the woman lay on the floor with Sanders grabbing her throat, Wheeler struck her in the head and hands with a hammer. This caused a deep cut to her face and open fractures to three fingers.

The couple escaped with the woman’s handbag and bank cards.

Judge Robert Pawson said the subsequent fraudulent use of those cards in various shops was part of the offenders’ undoing.

Bournemouth Echo: Mark SandersMark Sanders

The judge said “exemplary” police work “enabled the crown to present the journey before and after the attack”.

Sanders, of Elmes Road, Moordown, was found guilty of robbery, causing grievous bodily harm with intent and fraud by false representation following a trial in April.

Wheeler, of Spencer Road, Boscombe, pleaded guilty to the same charges and a further offence of possessing an offensive weapon.

Sanders pleaded guilty to an assault by beating charge in relation to a separate incident, which took place in November 2019.

Prosecuting, Tim Moores told Winchester Crown Court at a hearing on June 4 that the robbery victim has lost five per cent of the normal movement in her right hand as a result of the injuries she suffered.

Reading from a statement by the victim, Mr Moores said: “The attack occurred at my home address. I am too frightened to return there.”

The complainant spent three days in hospital and said she has suffered panic attacks since the robbery took place.

The court heard Wheeler had 23 previous convictions for 49 offences, while Sanders had 55 convictions for 186 offences.

Bournemouth Echo: Hailey WheelerHailey Wheeler

Both defendants were addicted to crack cocaine at the time of the offence, their respective barristers said.

Rose Burns, representing Wheeler, said: “She knows this is an offence that should have never happened.”

Wheeler is deeply sorry and full of remorse, Ms Burns said.

Mark Florida-James, representing Sanders, said his client confessed to the author of the pre-sentence report that he had not been honest with his legal counsel or the court about the version of events he presented at trial.

He wanted to apologise to the victim, Mr Florida-James said.

Judge Pawson said the answer to whether the pair posed a significant risk to members of the public of serious harm through further offending was a “resounding yes”. As a result of this finding, the criminals met the criteria to be considered dangerous offenders.

The judge said the attack was planned and caused serious physical harm to the victim but added that the couple did not commit the burglary the previous day.

“The level of your remorse is perhaps undermined by your late pleas Ms Wheeler and your standing trial Mr Sanders,” said Judge Pawson.

Judge Pawson ruled a normal determinate sentence would not fully address the risk the defendants posed.

He jailed Wheeler for 10 years and Sanders for 12 years. Both defendants also received a two-year extended licence period.

DC Stuart Dalladay, of Bournemouth CID, said: “This was a brutal attack that saw the victim attacked with a hammer, kicked and stamped on while she was on the floor. 

“I want to thank the victim for the courage she has shown in coming forward and supporting the investigation so that we could ensure these violent offenders are held accountable for their actions.”

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