Thugs jailed for 30 years after beating terminaly ill man unconscious

Dale Docherty
Dale Docherty

Two ‘despicable’ thugs who violently robbed a terminally ill man, who died just six months later, have been jailed for total of 30 years.

Christopher Caesar, 36, was undergoing chemotherapy to try to halt an inoperable brain tumour, but was struck so hard during the ordeal in his flat he suffered a bleed on his brain.

Jonathan Johnstone

Jonathan Johnstone

It was too close to the cancer for doctors to operate, Preston Crown Court heard.

Jonathan Johnstone, 22, of Bowland Crescent, Grange Park, was given 13 years, with a four year extended licence by Mr Justice Turner after he and his co-defendant pleaded guilty to the robbery at Mr Caesar’s flat on Withnell Road, South Shore, on October 15, 2016.

Dale Docherty, 22, of Dinmore Place, Grange Park, was given 12 years, with a four year extended licence.

The victim’s death was deemed to be of natural causes and not down to the injuries he suffered – but prosecutors say his precious last few months of life were affected by the attack.

Jonathan Johnstone

Jonathan Johnstone

Mr Caesar, who was diagnosed in 2009, was threatened with a screwdriver, struck with a claw hammer, and was knocked out when one of the men punched him on October 16, 2016.

He suffered reduced mobility in his left arm and left leg due to a brain haemorrhage and swelling, as well as broken bones in his nose and cheeks.

The victim’s friend James Innocent, 23, who was staying at his flat, was also threatened and hit during the 30 minute ordeal.

The court was told Johnstone and Docherty laughed when they were told about Mr Caesars illness

The victim had been asleep at 9.15am when his door was kicked in.

He was threatened by Johnstone, who demanded cash or drugs before attacking Mr Caesar with a hammer.

Johnstone was later arrested, with Docherty going on the run. He was eventually located and arrested in Scotland in December 2016.

Temp Det Chief Insp Gareth Willis, of Lancashire Police, said: “This was a violent attack on a defenceless man by two men who showed utter disregard for their victim.

“Docherty and Johnstone targeted Mr Caesar because they knew he was vulnerable.

“Their actions were despicable, leaving Christopher with a number of serious injuries including partial paralysis down his left hand side which caused him to need a wheelchair.

“Sadly Christopher was never to see justice served.

“We welcome the sentences imposed and hope they provide some small comfort to Christopher’s family.”

Mr Caesar’s family said: “Christopher was an integral part of the family and was very much loved by all.

“He had a very close relationship to his son who he saw every weekend and throughout the school holidays. He also had a very strong bond with his sister who was not only his sister but also his soul mate.

Christopher was a very strong-minded, honest and generous person with a heart of gold and a great sense of humour.

His generosity had no bounds.”