Two men have been handed long prison terms after being found guilty of a ‘sustained and brutal’ attack when a man was held at his city-centre flat in Salisbury and threatened with a firearm and a machete.
Gary Harford, 34, who at the time of these offences resided in Eyres Way, Salisbury, was found guilty of false imprisonment, possession of a firearm with intent to cause fear of violence, robbery and threats to kill at a hearing at Winchester Crown Court following a three-week trial in August 2021.
He had already pleaded guilty to causing actual bodily harm (ABH) and assaulting a police officer.
He was sentenced yesterday (15th March 2022) to 11 years in prison, of which he must serve at least two thirds, plus three years on extended licence.
Meanwhile, Terrence Johnson, 42, who at the time of these offences resided in Barnard Street, Salisbury, was found guilty of false imprisonment and ABH for his part in the same incident.
He was sentenced to five years in prison.
On 9th January 2020, the victim attended an address in Eyres Way, Salisbury, for an exchange of medication for controlled drugs.
During this exchange, Harford accused him of stealing drugs before assaulting him with punches, kicks and wielding a machete.
Harford and Johnson continued to torture the victim, holding him against his will and threatening him with an airgun which was classified as a firearm in law.
During the incident, the victim was bound with tape and struck with a hammer and the back of a machete blade, whilst threats were also made to set him alight and use a cut-throat razor on him.
They then proceeded to steal the victim’s phone and other personal items.
The ordeal came to an end after two hours when the victim was able to escape the property before reporting to Wiltshire Police.
Firearms officers attended the flat, which had been barricaded by Harford, and arrested the occupants. Johnson was arrested at his own flat later on the same day.
The pair have been on remand in custody.
Crime Scene Investigators and specialist police search teams seized a number of items from the property including the airgun, a large machete and property from the victim which had been concealed in the ceiling of the bedroom; along with masking tape and wipes. Blood and a fingerprint of the victim were later found at the address during forensic enquiries.
Sgt Steve Edwards said, “This was a terrifying ordeal for the victim who was subject to a vicious assault for two hours at the hands of Gary Harford and Terrence Johnson, which only came to an end when the victim was able to escape.
“I would like to praise the victim for his bravery at facing in court those who subjected him to this ordeal and for supporting the investigation.
“Harford and Johnson sought to distance themselves from these allegations during the trial, however, I am pleased that the court saw through their lies and have convicted them of these serious crimes.
“Drugs ruin lives and we are dedicated to bringing to justice those intent on causing harm to our communities through the dealing of illegal drugs and using dangerous weapons as part of their tactic to inflict fear.”
If you are concerned that drug dealing is taking place in your local community, we urge you to report your suspicions to us on 101.
Alternatively, you can call Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111, where information can be left anonymously.