Saffron Walden: women get a total of 12 years jail after rampage with a wrench to steal phones and bags

PUBLISHED: 12:06 26 March 2018 | UPDATED: 15:13 26 March 2018

(L-R) Claire Kinsey, 33, and Gemma Gadsby, 31. Photograph: Metropolitan Police

(L-R) Claire Kinsey, 33, and Gemma Gadsby, 31. Photograph: Metropolitan Police


A cocaine-fulled crime rampage by two women was only stopped when one of them reversed her car into a police vehicle, a court heard.

The two, including one from Saffron Walden, were jailed for a total of 12 years and nine months after attacking people with a wrench and driving into them for their phones and bags.

Snaresbrook Crown court was told on Friday, March 23 how Claire Kinsey, 33, from Carnation Drive, Saffron Walden, and Gemma Gadsby, 31, of no fixed abode, armed with a silver hatchback and a metal wrench, assaulted seven pedestrians in a bid to their steal bags and phones.

Their hour-long crime spree, in Romford, Hornchurch and Upminster Bridge, was only cut short when Kinsey reversed her silver Peugeot, later discovered to have fake licence plates, into a police car at a Romford petrol station while trying to avoid arrest.

Kinsey was handed a concurrent sentence of seven-and-a-half years for two counts of robbery, four counts of assault with intent to rob, one count of dangerous driving and a count of converting criminal property.

Gadsby was given a concurrent sentence of five years and two months for one count of robbery and two counts of assault with intent to rob.

Prosecutor Valeria Swift told the court how Claire Kinsey dropped her children off at her mother’s home that morning before collecting Gemma Gadsby and “self-intoxicating.”

Alexandra Hughes was the pair’s first victim and was struck on the back of her head before the pair took her bag containing her bank card, an appointment card and perfume.

At 9.20pm, the pair assaulted Sarina Rai as she walked along Hornchurch Road in Hornchurch.

“She felt a blow to the back of her head with a metal wrench the size of her forearm,” Ms Swift said.

The court heard that the pair shouted: “Give me your bag! Give me your bag!” as Ms Rai was struck a further three or four times.

At 9.30pm, the pair mounted the pavement with their silver Peugeot and struck Scott Bolton from behind as he was walking along Upminster Road in Upminister Bridge.

Five minutes later, the pair drove their car into a couple, Shaun Austin and Sue Riddle, as they walked along the same road, knocking them down.

Twenty-five minutes later, on Ramsden Drive, in Collier Row, Gadsby approached Alison Noys and punched her in the face repeatedly with both hands while Kinsey stole her handbag.

As they got back into their car, Kinsey said: “We’ve got your handbag, you muppet.”

Ms Swift read aloud Ms Noys’ victim statement to the court.

“One of the girls said ‘stop screaming,’ as if bored,” she said.

“It was almost normal to them. They were so calm.”

“I remember wondering if they were going to kill me.”

Her bag, containing her telephone, car and house keys, worth around £300, was retrieved after the pair’s arrest.

Their last victim was Fgidijius Dzinga. Kinsey mounted the pavement with her car in a bid to hit her as walked along Collier Row Road at 10pm.

Jumping out of the way, she avoided serious injury.

Defending Kinsey, Asmah Khan mentioned her client’s battles with depression, anxiety and a history of domestic abuse.

She also spoke of her attempts to improve her life in custody and the impact on her two eight-year-old children.

Reading aloud a letter from Kinsey to the victims, she said: “The burden of mental health led me to a concoction of medication that I handled poorly.”

Gadbsy’s defence solicitor Ronnie Bergethal also highlighted his client’s battles with mental health, substance abuse and periods of instability in her life.

He said: “Now and again, things become a little too depressing for her and she chooses solace in alcohol and cocaine.”

Judge John Lafferty handed the pair concurrent sentences in consideration of their early guilty pleas at previous hearings on December 19 and February 26.

“Your clearly had robbery in mind,” he said to Kinsey, in reference to the premeditation involved in her swapping the registration plates on her stolen Peugeot 206. He added: “The fact that you were heavily intoxicated is an aggravating factor, not a mitigating one.”

Kinsey also received a 69-month driving ban and the pair must pay a victim surcharge of £175 each.

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