Friday, 5 January 2007

The Murder of Ray Gange

On 19 August 2005, 69-year-old grandfather-of-six, Raymond Gange, was murdered in Chellaston, Derby.

Jak Jones, Shaun Johns and Calvin Grant, were out looking for easy victims that night and they came across Raymond as he was walking home to his sister's house. They knocked him to the ground and kicked and stamped upon him before stealing his cash and car keys. When they had what they wanted they threw Raymond's body over a hedge where it was found two days later.

Johns and Grant, who both attended the same college as Raymond's granddaughter, were found guilty of murder and manslaughter respectively in April 2006. Jones, who had been the boyfriend of Raymond's granddaughter, Rebecca, until just two days before he died, pleaded guilty to murder at an earlier stage.

Speaking after the verdict, Anna Zimand, on behalf of the Derbyshire Crown Prosecution Service, said:

"Mr Gange died following what can only be described as a senseless attack delivered with considerable violence and deadly intent. The three defendants formed part of a gang who, in the days immediately before and after the murder, committed a series of particularly nasty robberies and thefts, in some cases involving physical violence…

The three defendants took this violent behaviour to a new level, with tragic consequences. There was no motive for the attack, and Mr Gange was not deliberately targeted. He was simply in the wrong place at the wrong time."
Detective Chief Superintendent Carl Barker said:

"This was a difficult investigation that developed from the murder of Raymond Gange to incorporate a number of violent street robberies. This ruthless group of youths went on a violent crime spree that lasted for several days and seriously affected the lives of many people in Derby. They deserve no sympathy, as their desire to use violence was at any cost and without reason. They simply wanted to hurt innocent people."
Detective Superintendent John Briggs said:

"One of the worst things for me was that a number of people seemed to know that they were going out robbing and coming back and bragging but the police had no real knowledge it was this group. This could have been stopped earlier…

The week around poor Ray's death each of them was trying to outdo the other in the extreme. I think they just decided they could operate lawlessly. The phrase people use sometimes is 'Life is cheap these days'. They proved it, they could easily have killed a number of people. We had some fairly hardened detectives on the case, who were completely and utterly shocked at the level of violence."
Detective Briggs said that Jones was trying to 'big himself up' and robbed an Allenton man with Johns the day after being released from prison. He also said that Rebecca Gange's flat was a 'staging post' for the gang and, with supreme irony, it was from there that they set off to kill her grandfather.

Tracey Chetwyn, Rebecca's mother and Raymond's daughter, informed the court of yet another irony. She had been drinking and chatting with Jak Jones the day after he killed her father. Tracey also spoke of Rebecca's relationship with her grandfather's killer and said that she had finished with him on the day he got out of prison. She added:

"Beci said that he'd changed and that she didn't like him any more. People suggest it might have been revenge, but he wouldn't have known who Beci's grandfather was… Jak came down to the pub on the Saturday and Beci said she wanted him to take his things out of her house. My husband bought him a Coke and I dropped him off to collect his things. He looked perfectly well and normal."
Initially, the police did not treat Raymond's death as suspicious and only investigated the matter thoroughly when Rebecca approached them. Jones had informed her that he had robbed and beaten up a man in Chellaston. When she learned that her grandfather was missing, she contacted the police and told them what she knew. Tracey confirmed that the police had not, originally, suspected foul play, saying:

"It was only when Beci realised what had happened and told the police about Jak that it was treated as murder."
Which is odd because Raymond had bruising around his eyes, bruises, grazes and cuts to the rest of his head and two fractured vertebrae in his neck.
Perhaps such injuries occur naturally when you fall over in your late sixties, hey?

On 13 April 2006, The Derby Evening Telegraph reported another incident in the gang's 'crime spree' thus:

"Simon Stevens, who suffered a collapsed lung and numerous knife wounds, feared he was going to be killed as he was stabbed, punched and kicked in a robbery the night before Raymond Gange's murder. Two of Mr Gange's killers, Jak Jones and Shaun Johns, and a third teenager, Clifton Ashley, ambushed him while he was out walking his dog at midnight in Allenton and marched him back to his home, where he was tied to a chair with fishing line. Mr Stevens, who is still traumatised by the attack on August 18 last year, said:

'I just thought, 'I'm going to die'. I thought they were trying to kill me. They were loving it. They were all enjoying it and were laughing out loud. They were all saying nasty stuff, all in street lingo. It didn't involve keeping me alive.'

He learned while he was in Derbyshire Royal Infirmary for eight days that Mr Gange had been killed. Mr Stevens said: 'I was gutted for him and his family. I thought I was lucky to be alive.'

Mr Stevens was out walking in the rain with his dog, Zara, on the canal path near Harvey Road, Allenton, when he felt the presence of people behind him… He turned round to see three teenagers, Jones, Johns and Ashley (all 18), with hoods over their heads and scarves covering their faces. Jones, who was armed with a Swiss Army-type knife, demanded Mr Stevens' phone but he threw it over a fence. He was punched to the ground, where he was kicked and punched again and had his wallet and keys stolen…

Johns, Jones and Ashley, who all admitted the robbery before the trial, then marched their victim to his home, one either side of him and one behind. Mr Stevens was jabbed by the knife in his neck as he walked and was knocked to the floor and beaten… Johns told to the jury what happened during the robbery in a cold, matter-of-fact way… Johns said that, when Mr Stevens tried to fight back as a 'last desperate lunge' at him, he was punched and kicked again by the other two.

Mr Stevens was then tied by Johns with fishing line to a chair in his lounge. A tea towel was also placed over his head while his attackers ransacked his house. Johns told the jury he came downstairs to find Mr Stevens, who had been stabbed, lying on the floor, still tied to the chair. Mr Stevens had fallen after being kicked in the head. Johns said:

'I seen that he was leaking a puddle of blood and was in a bad way. I thought the man was unconscious at that point.'

Mr Stevens… had been stabbed twice in the back, once in the side and once in the chest, causing his lung to collapse. His ear had been sliced, four tendons in one hand were severed, he had cuts on his badly bruised face, some on his arm and his head was swollen. He had to give up his job selling phones door-to-door. He said:

'You don't know who's behind the door. I still see people with hoods, gangster-style, and it gets me thinking. I'd like the attackers to be taught a lesson and lose their liberty for as long as possible. I'm sure they'll be put away for a long time - and good riddance."
Ironically, Derby Crown Court was told that Raymond had written many letters to The Derby Evening Telegraph complaining about yobbish behaviour.

One such letter said:

"Criminals given soft sentences often re-offend time and time again, and yet the victim's family get a life sentence."
Grant had been convicted of actual bodily harm the February before he took part in Raymond's murder. He was given a six-month referral order and was released from prison just two days before the murder.

Johns, who also has previous convictions, was conditionally discharged for an offence of criminal damage on the day before he killed Raymond.

The police believe that the gang responsible for the murderous assault upon Simon Jones and the murder of Raymond Gange may have been responsible for up to 30 such violent robberies in the Derby area.

It is a chilling indictment upon today's society that they would all, probably, still be at large, protected by the same community upon which they preyed, if they hadn't had the bad luck to attack the grandfather of one of those whose silence they thought they could depend on and then boast about it afterwards.

Raymond is pictured below alongside Jones, Johns and Grant.

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