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Brothers Daniel and Barry Murphy sentenced after Edenbridge Boots raid

Two brothers who bungled a raid on a chemist when their swag bag burst, spilling money over the floor, have received different sentences.

Daniel Murphy was last month given six months imprisonment suspended for a year with 100 hours unpaid work.

His brother Barry breached his bail by refusing to return from working on oil rigs in the Gulf.

The Boots in Edenbridge High Street. Pic: Google (3460058)
The Boots in Edenbridge High Street. Pic: Google (3460058)

When he did appear in court he was jailed for just over six months after a judge told him: “I would be taking a merciful course if I passed the same sentence as I passed on your brother.

“Appropriate punishment can only be achieved by immediate custody.”

Maidstone Crown Court heard the brothers wore ski masks and gardening gloves when they used a rock to smash a pane of glass in the door of Boots in Edenbridge High Street at 12.30am on January 24.

Barry Murphy, 46, used a screwdriver to open tills and tipped cash into a bin bag held by his 36-year-old brother.

“Unhappily for them, the bin liner split, causing some of the money to fall to the floor,” said prosecutor Trevor Wright. "They grabbed what they could, stuffed it into the bag and drove away.”

They fled with just £700 in a red Jaguar S Type car

“A neighbour had heard a noise and seen them entering Boots and leaving in the Jaguar,” said Mr Wright. “The police were called and they followed the car to the A25.

“Other patrols attended. Within a short time the car was boxed in with a tactical pursuit technique. Masks and gardening gloves were found with money and loose change.”

Mr Wright said the chemist had to close for half a day to clean up and carry out repairs.

Daniel Murphy, whose four bedroom home in Shepherds Gate Drive, Grove Green, Maidstone, is valued at almost £500,000, had old convictions for commercial burglaries.

The case was heard at Maidstone Crown Court
The case was heard at Maidstone Crown Court

But he escaped being locked up after a judge said there was a prospect of rehabilitation and immediate imprisonment would “have a significant harmful impact on his wife and young child”.

Barry Murphy, of Marion Crescent, Maidstone, also had previous convictions for commercial burglaries – four of them at Boots chemists.

Tom Dunn, defending, said at the earlier hearing that Daniel Murphy committed the offence in the context of a prolonged and stressful period of financial uncertainty for him and his family.

“After being able to command a very high salary and structure his life with outgoings to match, he was laid off,” said Mr Dunn.

“He couldn’t maintain his lifestyle and had debts of £63,000, including mortgage arrears. He committed this offence against that background in a stupid misguided attempt to make some money to try to make ends meet.

“It was a position he now bitterly regrets. The effect of immediate custody would be he would have to sell the family home.”

Mr Dunn said Barry Murphy had debts of £50,000, including mortgage arrears, and took the deliberate decision to stay in the Gulf where he earned £6,000 a month tax free.

“His financial predicament is much the same as his brothers,” he said. “Repossession is on the cards but can be prevented if he continues to generate this level of income and make a contribution to the arrears.

“Putting it simply, were he to have the good fortune to be allowed his liberty today he can return to the Gulf and continue servicing the mortgage and keep a roof over his ex-wife and 16-year-old daughter’s head.

“If sentenced to immediate custody that would be nigh on impossible and significant suffering as a result would occur. In a nutshell, I throw him at the court’s mercy.

“He succumbed to real world pressure not to answer his bail. He has now come back to face the music, as he knew he would have to.”

Judge Charles Macdonald QC said he had no doubt some planning had gone into the burglary. He accepted that Murphy was remorseful.”

But he added: “I find there is no adverse impact on others. The Bail Act offence was deliberate an disruptive.”

Murphy was jailed for six months for the burglary and two weeks consecutive for breaching his bail.

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