Career criminals sentenced to 30 years combined for pre-planned attack in Brookwood Cemetery
Two career criminals have been jailed for a pre-planned attack at Brookwood Cemetery in July 2017.
Daryl Joseph Stewart and Marvin Tolson Giddings have yet to explain why they attacked two men at the cemetery. One victim was stabbed in the chest and left in a life-threatening condition, while the second suffered cuts to his arm.
Senior investigating officer Detective Inspector Pete Howgate said: “This was an incredibly serious attack which involved a disturbing level of planning by these two career criminals. They have yet to explain their motive for this crime and have shown no remorse throughout interviews and the trial despite nearly killing an innocent man and slashing a knife at the second victim who was coming to his aid.
“I would like to commend the bravery of the victims in this case, one of whom was able to push his attacker away and throw a ladder at him, despite having been stabbed in the chest, while the second came to his aid and was stabbed on the arm, but in doing so undoubtedly spooked Giddings and Stewart into fleeing.
“At present there are no other parties involved in this case and I would like to make it extremely clear that these two men knew exactly who they were attempting to kill that day.
“Throughout the trial they stuck to their story that they were visiting to arrange a burial plot for a relative, which is completely untrue.
“We have to remain open to the possibility that someone may know why these men committed this crime. I would urge anyone who has any amount of information, no matter how small, to get in touch with us by calling 101 and quoting PR/45170078451. You can report information, completely anonymously to the independent charity Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.”
Charges and sentences
Daryl Joseph Stewart, 33 of no fixed address was found guilty of section 18 causing grievous bodily harm with intent, handling stolen goods. He was sentenced to 10 years.
Marvin Tolson Giddings, 31, of no fixed address was found guilty of causing grievous bodily harm with intent, a further charge of wounding inflicting grievous bodily harm and handling stolen goods (relating to using a BMW X1) He was sentenced to 20 years.
They were on trial at Guildford Crown Court for three and a half weeks from February 12 and were sentenced at the same court on April 19.
Timeline of Giddings’ and Stewart’s preparation, attack and arrest in 2017
July 18: Arrive at Brookwood Cemetery at 4.45pm in the stolen BMW X1. Spent an hour driving around the site.
3.29pm: Arrive at Brookwood Cemetery office, again in the stolen BMW X1.
3.32pm: Leave the office and go to a burial ground area, followed by victim 1 and victim 2 in a separate vehicle.
3.55pm: Arrive back at the office
4pm: Leave the office with a number of forms relating to purchase of a burial plot
4.44pm: Arrive back at the office and carry out the attack
August 22: Giddings arrested in London
September 29: Stewart arrested in London
Planning the attack
Giddings and Stewart used a stolen vehicle that they had acquired, a black BMW X1 that had previously been stolen in a robbery in Sydenham, London. The victim was pushed to the ground, threatened with a 9-inch kitchen knife and was stabbed in the hand as he tried to defend himself.
On July 18, the day before the offence, they visited the cemetery at 4.45pm in the stolen BMW and asked a member of staff about how to get to a certain part of the burial grounds. CCTV cameras then showed the BMW driving around the area for the next hour.
They revisited the cemetery the following day at 3.29pm and talked to office staff under the pretence that they wanted to buy a burial plot. Suspicions were raised as they were not behaving in a way expected of normal visitors.
Investigating officer Detective Sergeant Paul Warriner said: “Giddings and Stewart realised there would be too many witnesses in the office to commit their crime and so asked for their eventual victim to take them to the burial grounds, away from other people.
“The victim took along a colleague and they drove in separate vehicle to the offenders to a specific burial area in the cemetery grounds. There they got out of their cars to discuss further details about the site, while the victim’s colleague re-positioned his van so the moment could be captured on the vehicle’s dash-cam.
“During these conversations they continually sought to confirm the identity of the victim under the guise that they had spoken to him the previous day on the phone. No such conversation took place.”
They returned to the office at around 4pm but again left as there were still other members of staff in the building. The offenders took some cemetery-related paperwork with them.
Thirty minutes later they returned. Giddings used the paperwork to cover the knife he was carrying as he went into the victim’s office, adjacent to the reception area and stabbed him in the chest. Stewart stood guard at the door to the office.
DS Warriner added: “This was ultimately a pre-meditated attack which may have happened earlier in the day, but the duo were thwarted and frustrated by the lack of opportunity to isolate the victim. They returned to the office in this moment to try to finish what they had started.
“The victim showed immense bravery to stop the attack by pushing Giddings away before throwing a ladder that was beside his desk at him. The victim’s colleague, displaying equal bravery, attempted to get back into the office from the reception area but was stabbed on the elbow by one of the offenders. Giddings and Stewart then fled the office and drove away in the BMW.”
Following the call to police, the vehicle’s detail were circulated over police radio. An officer driving in slow moving traffic on the A322 in Lightwater near the junction with the M3 heard the call and noticed behind him a car matching the description. As it passed he cross-checked the registration and attempted to take photographs of the occupants on his mobile data terminal.
The officer activated his blue lights and followed them around the roundabout as they joined the M3 towards London. The pursuit then ended on the M25 as it became too dangerous.
The BMW was recovered from Raymond Close in Poyle near Slough the following morning, having been abandoned.
Giddings was arrested on August 22 at 12.15am at Kilburn Park tube station in London, while Stewart was arrested on September 29 in Culverley Road, Catford, London.
With both men having extensive criminal history, their details, including DNA, was already on police systems.
DS Warriner said: “Following the attack we had irrefutable evidence that Giddings and Stewart were at the scene of the attack, with Giddings’ fingerprints found on the white forms that he’d used to conceal the knife, which he’d left at the scene. A DNA match was also found on a glove at the scene that didn’t belong to any staff. Witnesses also picked Giddings out in an identification parade.
“We managed to identify Stewart through the dash-cam images and CCTV, while his fingerprints were also on the BMW, including the false plates that had been attached to it.
“We knew fairly soon who we were looking for and we had to then set about finding two men who had in fact been on the run for a number of years and were very adept at disappearing.
“We worked closely with our colleagues at the Metropolitan Police to track the two men down and bring them to justice for this awful crime.
“It was clear to see the physical injuries suffered by both victims, but they are also suffering ongoing psychological effects due to the attack that will take some time to heal. I hope today’s sentence goes some way in helping them to move on.”