Man convicted of murdering 87-year-old in ‘brutal’ attack during burglary

A traveller has been convicted of murder after he skinned an 87-year-old’s hand, broke his ribs and punched him in the face during a “brutal” burglary.

Arthur Gumbley was attacked by Jason Wilsher after approaching his killer in a friendly way and asking him why he was inside his home.

Stafford Crown Court heard the 20-year-old was one of two men who attacked the victim at his property in Little Aston, Sutton Coldfield, in November 2017, stealing a watch and gold and silver jewellery.

Wilsher
Jason Wilsher was convicted of murdering 87-year-old Arthur Gumbley (Staffordshire Police/PA)

Jurors unanimously decided Wilsher had ransacked Mr Gumbley’s bungalow after they heard DNA found on a cupboard drawer at the property was an 860 million-to-one match.

The pensioner died about three weeks after the break-in as a result of his injuries, which included four rib fractures.

Mr Gumbley, who walked with the aid of a stick, told detectives he had been watching television before hearing the intruders enter his house.

Drawer
Jurors heard DNA found on one of the cupboard drawers at Mr Gumbley’s home was an 860 million-to-one match to Jason Wilsher (Staffordshire Police/PA)

He was punched on the nose and kicked on the shoulder but could not remember anything else about the attack.

The court heard it is believed he was dragged across the carpet, due to burns on his back, and had a watch forcibly pulled from his wrist, tearing his skin.

Jurors were told Mr Gumbley was taken to hospital after his daughter phoned him when he managed to reconnect a telephone wire which had been pulled out.

Arthur Gumbley death
Mr Gumbley suffered several injuries which caused severe bruising in the attack (Staffordshire Police/PA)

Telephone analysis linked Wilsher to a mobile handset “central to the case”, and to the purchase of a blue Mazda car bought for £1,700 for criminal purposes.

The jury convicted Wilsher, who had denied murdering Mr Gumbley and taking part in a conspiracy to rob between November 18 and 26, 2017 on Wednesday, Staffordshire Police said.

The conspiracy to rob charge was related to another elderly man, Dennis Taylor, who lived in the Creswell area of Derbyshire and suffered injuries at the hands of burglars.

Taylor
Wilsher was also convicted of conspiracy to rob 82-year-old Dennis Taylor (Staffordshire Police/PA)

The 82-year-old told police he had his head banged on to the hearth of a fireplace four days after Mr Gumbley was attacked.

Speaking after the verdicts were announced, Detective Chief Inspector Dan Ison of Staffordshire Police said of the attack on Mr Gumbley: “This was a planned and totally unnecessary attack on an 87-year-old man in his own home.

“The injuries sustained by Arthur were brutal and horrific.

Gumbley
Mr Gumbley died three weeks after the attack (Staffordshire Police/PA)

“It was months of hard work that identified him (Wilsher) and it is startling that the science of DNA proves effectively Wilsher is the only man in Europe who could’ve contributed to the sample found at Arthur’s home.”

Wilsher, of Barlestone Road, Bagworth, Leicestershire, will be sentenced at the same court on Friday.

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