Gun wielding Car-jacker who targeted women drivers in Harborne and Quinton is jailed

Written by on January 21, 2019

A GUN-wielding car-jacker who carried out six robberies in Quinton and Harborne in the space of two days has been jailed for almost 20 years.

West Midlands Police caught Mark Stokes with a sting operation and then linked him to crimes which left women drivers traumitised.

The 50-year-old’s shocking spree began on February 4 last year in Northfield Road, Harborne where he forced a woman from her VW Scirocco before driving off.

Mark Stokes car-jacker

He then tried to steal a woman’s Audi the following day as she loaded shopping into the car in Ridgeacre Road.

Three hours later he tried taking a Mercedes A-Class in Faraday Road, firing the hand gun at the car’s window as he upped his threats of violence.

At 10pm in Oldbury he ambushed a woman as she pulled her Audi Q5 onto her driveway but fled empty-handed. Stokes would wear a balaclava during the attacks.

He made two more attempts to steal vehicles in War Lane and Wolverhampton Road, Harborne.

CCTV enquiries and witnesses coming forward led to detectives identifying two cars at the scene of two offences linked to Stokes.

The Vectra was seized on February 7 and a handbag taken in the first robbery and a balaclava were taken and forensically tested. 

Stokes was arrested on February 13 and quizzed about the robberies. He remained silent while investigators built a case.

Officers found CCTV from a shop showing Stokes buying beer, wearing a distinctive blue Adidas top identical to one worn by the car-jacker. 

It was found by a West Midlands Police fog at the scene of the February 6 attack and returned the DNA to Stokes. His DNA was also found on the balaclava and phone analysis put him at the scene of the attacks.

CCTV enquiries and witness accounts led West Midlands Police detectives to identify two cars – a Vauxhall Vectra and Suzuki Swift – at the scene of the offences that were linked to Stokes. 

The Vectra was seized on 7 February and a handbag – taken during the first robbery – and a balaclava were found inside and seized for forensic examination.

Stokes was arrested on February 13 and questioned over the robberies; he remained silent and was released while investigators built a case against him.

They found CCTV from a shop showing Stokes buying beer wearing a distinctive blue Adidas top identical to one worn by the offender.

Mark Stokes evidence

The top was found by a West Midlands Police dog handler near the scene of the February 6 offences – and when forensically examined returned a DNA hit to Stokes. Stokes’ DNA was also found on the recovered balaclava and extensive phone analysis placed him at the scene of the offences.

He was re-arrested on 14 June and also quizzed over two house rush robberies – in Harborne Park Road and Tennal Road on 17 and 31 May respectively – in which a BMW and VW Golf were stolen by two men who barged their way inside.

Officers found a discarded cider can outside the Harborne Park Road address on which forensics experts found Stokes’ saliva – and a stash of the same high-strength drinks cans were found at his home in Summerfield Road, Woodgate Valley.

Stokes denied being involved in the offences but was found guilty by a jury at Birmingham Crown Court and jailed for 18-and-a-half years.

Investigating officer DC Lee Reeday said they were shocking offences targeting female drivers, some in broad daylight with a firearm.

The pistol was a ball-bearing gun, not a genuine weapon, but the victims would not have known that when Stokes was pointing it at them.

We recovered two of the three stolen cars and compiled a strong evidential case against Stokes. The jury found him unanimously guilty and I’m pleased the sentence handed down reflects the seriousness of Stokes’ offending.

We know another man was involved in at least one of the carjacking attempts and the home invasions and enquiries are on-going to identify him.”

 


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