Northampton robber jailed for 22 years after DNA found on nail clippings

David Devlin was sentenced to 22 years imprisonment
David Devlin was sentenced to 22 years imprisonment

A robber has been sentenced to a total of 22 years imprisonment after DNA from fingernail clippings linked him to the scene of one of his crimes.

David Devlin, 26, subjected a woman to a terrifying attack when he was among a group of three men who broke into a property on Yardley Drive, Leicester, on March 11 this year where the victim, who is in her 60s, was.

Cash and gold was demanded from the woman with some of the men searching her home while another man punched her, pushed her to the ground, sprayed her hands and face with a cleaning fluid and clipped her finger nails – after saying she had scratched his face when she had grabbed his balaclava.

But when crime scene investigators recovered the fingernail clippings and sent them off for DNA analysis, a partial DNA match from Devlin, of Lumbertubs Lane, Northampton, was shown.

Devlin, who had absconded from lawful custody at HMP Sudbury where he was serving a custodial sentence for burglary, was arrested and interviewed and charged in relation to the offence at Yardley Drive as well as other offences including another robbery in Leicester.

On Monday, at Leicester Crown Court, as Devlin was due to stand trial, he pleaded guilty to two counts of robbery, one count of causing grievous bodily harm and two counts of handling stolen goods. He had previously pleaded guilty to absconding from lawful custody.

Devlin had absconded from HMP Sudbury on May 29 last year. On March 11 this year he broke into the property at Yardley Drive along with the two other men by smashing a window.

The three were all masked with one of the men grabbing the woman in the house by her hands and demanding cash and gold. The man started punching the woman to the face. When the woman grabbed the man’s balaclava and pulled it up slightly to try and make him stop, he took hold of her hand and twisted it. He then told the woman she had scratched his face before cleaning her hands with water and cleaning fluid.

The woman’s hands and face were then sprayed with a cleaning fluid by the man who also clipped her fingernails using nail clippers. During this he pulled off two bangles from her wrist and her wedding ring.

When the men left the property, the woman called the police. She had suffered injuries including a fractured left wrist which required surgery, bruising to her face and damage to her eye.

The other robbery Devlin was convicted of happened in Timble Road in Leicester, on 11 March this year. A mother and her children were at the address when three men broke in making threats including placing their hands over the mouths of the mother and one of her children, threatening the mother with a screwdriver. Cash was demanded from the family and thousands of pounds worth of jewellery was stolen as well as a camera.

Following the sentencing, Detective Inspector Gareth Goddard said: “Devlin’s crimes are truly shocking. People were attacked and left terrified in their own homes because of the actions of Devlin along with others. In one case, a woman suffered a number of horrific injuries.

“Devlin went to extreme lengths in trying to stop any evidence being left from his crimes but the detailed and thorough investigative work of our team led to him being identified through DNA evidence from fingernail clippings. It left Devlin with no choice but to plead guilty to his crimes in court and accept full responsibility which has resulted in a 22-year sentence being passed.

“We do want to thank the victims in these cases for their bravery and co-operation following truly terrifying times which has led to this conviction. We assure them and the community that we continue to work tirelessly to identify all the people responsible for these offences and to bring them too before the courts.

“At Leicestershire Police we continually work to both prevent and detect robberies and burglaries at people’s homes. I hope this sentence sends a message out that we will not tolerate these crimes in our community and will take all the actions and investigative work necessary to ensure we find answers for victims and to see that justice is fully served.”