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Two Medway thugs John Paterson and Gregory Harbron are jailed for blackmailing a Sittingbourne bookmaker

By Lynn Cox

Here are the faces of two thugs who attacked a bookie and his wife in their own home because they said he owed them money.

The pair have been jailed for five years between them.

John Paterson, 43, and Gregory Harbron, 32, carried out the attack on Leonard and Susan Wainwright and were jailed for five years between them at Maidstone Crown Court, on Friday.

John Paterson, 43, of Smetham Gardens, Strood, was jailed for three years.

The carried out the frightening attack because they said, Mr Wainwright owed them £2,000.

The court heard Mr Wainwright was pinned to the floor while his wife was grabbed round the throat by the two masked men.

They only left after Mr Wainwright, 68, promised to get the cash for them the next day.

Paterson, 43, of Smetham Gardens, Strood, denied conspiracy to blackmail, but was convicted at an earlier hearing.

Gregory Harbron, 32, of McKenzie Road, Lordswood, Chatham, has been jailed for two years.

Harbron, 32, of McKenzie Road, Lordswood, admitted the offence earlier.

Paterson was sentenced to three years in prison and Harbron two.

The court heard Mr Wainwright was a bookmaker at Sittingbourne greyhound track when Harbron, who was fitting a kitchen for him, asked if he could making a betting investment.

It was agreed Harbron would invest £3,000 which would be doubled to £6,000.

He was paid the money and he then asked to put in another £3,000 for the same return.

But Mr Wainwright told Maidstone Crown Court he lost his pitch at the dog track and he could not keep up the agreed payment plan.

He resorted to borrowing from payday loan companies that charged 450% interest and was facing eviction from his family home in Hugh Price Close, Murston, near Sittingbourne.

Mr Wainwright was at home with his wife, manager of a Coral bookmakers branch, on February 13, last year, when the two men wearing balaclavas forced their way in.

“They were two big men,” he said. “They attacked me and held me down.

“One of them got me on the ground. I felt frightened. I thought they were going to kill me. He said: ‘We have come for the £2,000.’

“My wife was in the conservatory. She heard the commotion and came to see what was happening. The second man got hold of her.

“He shut the door and had her around the throat. I said: ‘I will have the money for you tomorrow.’ It was all I could think of saying.”

Mr and Mrs Wainwright were told not to call police but ignored the instruction, the court heard.

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