Drug dealer Darren Archer jailed for 12 years

York Press: Darren Archer Darren Archer

A DRUG dealer has been jailed for 12 years for robbing a gold dealer with murderer Graham Richardson.

Darren John Archer had already served prison sentences for tipping an 83-year-old pensioner out of his motor scooter and stealing his pension, and trying to rob a man at knifepoint in Bootham, York.

In December 2012 together with Richardson, 27, and another man, he robbed gold dealer Michael Cleaver of £4,000 after Richardson had lured Mr Cleaver to a dark cul-de-sac off Leeman Road, York.

Teesside Crown Court heard last month Mr Cleaver feared for his life because one of the three robbers was armed with an axe and another pretended to put a gun to his back.

Archer, 43, formerly of Nunnery Lane, York, denied the robbery, but was convicted by a jury last month.

In addition to the 12 years in jail, he was ordered at Sheffield Crown Court to pay £1,690 in compensation and restitution to Mr Cleaver, of Manchester.

Teesside Crown Court heard last month money belonging to Mr Cleaver was seized from Archer at his girlfriend’s home the day after the robbery.

Richardson, of Riverside View, Norton, admitted the robbery and was jailed for nine years for that last month at the same time as he was given a life sentence with a minimum term of 27 years for the murder of antiques dealer Peter Battle.

Archer told the jury his only contact with Richardson was to sell him heroin and denied being part of the robbery. He has two previous convictions for drug dealing.

But the jury saw phone records of repeated contact between the two at important times leading up to the robbery and other evidence linking Archer to the robbery.

Archer was on parole from a sentence of just under four years for one of his drugs’ convictions when he robbed the pensioner, a crime for which he was given another four years in jail.

Released on parole part-way through that sentence, he tried to rob the man in Bootham and forced the victim to give evidence before changing his plea midway through his trial in June 2009.

During his trial for murder, Richardson tried to claim Archer had killed Mr Battle, but the jury and prosecution both rejected his story.

Forensic evidence placed Richardson at the scene of the crime and he was caught on CCTV selling antiques from Mr Battle’s home after the murder. No trace of Archer at the murder scene was found by police.

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