Somerset killers among criminals jailed in May

-Credit: (Image: Avon and Somerset Police)
-Credit: (Image: Avon and Somerset Police)


Killers, drug dealers and dangerous drivers are among those people from Somerset who have been put behind bars in the past month. Judges at Taunton and Bristol Crown Courts have been dispending justice to those who have broken the law.

The latest tranche of criminals include three teenagers who have been jailed after they killed a boy at a birthday party in Bath. A man has also been jailed for life after pulling out a knife and stabbing a man in the chest during an altercation in a street.

Here SomersetLive looks at some of the criminals jailed in May 2024

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SHANE CUNNINGHAM, CARTEL BUSHNELL AND LEO KNIGHT

Three teenagers have been jailed after they killed a boy at a birthday party in Bath. Kingswood teenager Mikey Roynon was stabbed in the back of the neck with a zombie knife by Shane Cunningham in Eastfield Avenue in Weston on June 10, 2023 and died at the scene.

Cunningham was found guilty of murder while his two co-accused friends Cartel Bushnell, aged 16 and from Dorset and Leo Knight, aged 16 and from Wiltshire, were found guilty of manslaughter at Bristol Crown Court.

Mr Justice Saini lifted the reporting restrictions on the three boys during their sentencing at the same court on Friday afternoon (May 3). The three boys had travelled to the Bath party from Wiltshire.

Two admitted to bringing knives with them but the third denied it, but CCTV footage showed what detectives believe was a large knife down his trousers, casting doubt on his account.

Cunningham previously claimed he was acting in self-defence when he stabbed Mikey after claiming Mikey had swung a knife towards his friends in the garden of the property. Mikey, known locally as a musician, bled heavily from and collapsed on the driveway of the venue.

Police, paramedics and doctors quickly arrived at the scene of the incident but could not save Mikey’s life. His injury was so serious that even immediate surgery would have not saved Mikey’s life.

The defendants meanwhile left the scene and later disposed of their weapons, and two were recovered by the police.

Cunningham was issued a life sentence and must spend 16 years in detention before he is considered for parole. Bushnell was jailed for nine years in prison and Knight was sentenced to nine years and six months in prison.

Cartel Bushnell (left), Shane Cunningham (Centre) and Leo Knight (right) were jailed following the death of Mikey Roynon at a property in Eastfield Avenue, Weston on June 10, 2023. -Credit:Avon and Somerset Police
Cartel Bushnell (left), Shane Cunningham (Centre) and Leo Knight (right) were jailed following the death of Mikey Roynon at a property in Eastfield Avenue, Weston on June 10, 2023. -Credit:Avon and Somerset Police

ADAM BOWENS

A former boxer has been jailed for life after brutally murdering a man in a Weston-super-Mare flat. Adam Bowers fatally punched, kicked and attacked Nick Bryan with a hammer.

Bristol Crown Court heard how Bowers had been drinking with two women at an address in Rydal Road on November 15, 2021, when the women decided to go to a shop to get more alcohol. They met Mr Bryan in the shop and invited him back to the flat.

However, an argument soon ensued between Bowers, a former boxer, and Mr Bryan. Bowers, 35, then carried out a sustained violent attack on Mr Bryan before leaving the scene with one of the women.

The court was told how Bowers confessed to a fellow prisoner in 2022 – while serving a sentence for an unrelated offence – that he punched Mr Bryan repeatedly and also used a hammer in the sustained attack. Judge Martin Picton handed Bowers a life sentence and told him he will serve a minimum of 20 years before he can be considered for release.

He said Bowers’ confession amounted to a ‘boast’ of what he did and showed no remorse. He added Bowers had no reason to attack Mr Bryan or keep attacking in a ‘sustained and savage fashion’, adding the level of violence was ‘grotesque’.

Adam Bowers admitted to the murder of Nick Bryan in Bristol Crown Court
Adam Bowers -Credit:Avon and Somerset Police

AARON COOPER

A drug dealer from Somerset has been jailed after trying to run away from police who raided his home. Aaron Cooper, 30 and from Shepton Mallet, will spend two years and eight months behind bars.

He was sentenced at Bristol Crown Court on Tuesday, April 23, after admitting charges of possessing cocaine and cannabis with intent to supply, as well as possession of cocaine. Cooper was arrested when police, including firearms officers, carried out a warrant at his home.

Avon and Somerset Police said he initially ran away from officers but did not get far and was caught within minutes. Officers found cocaine and cannabis concealed, as well as a substantial amount of cash, at his home.

Aaron Cooper
Aaron Cooper -Credit:Avon and Somerset Police

JAKE LEE AND JAMES HEPPEL

Two men who stole more than £5.7 million in cryptocurrency from victims worldwide have been jailed. Jake Lee, 38, from Charlcombe in Bath and James Heppel, 42, from Staverton in Wiltshire, spoofed the domain of online cryptocurrency exchange Blockchain.com to access victims' Bitcoin login details and wallets.

After a long investigation by the South West Regional Organised Crime Unit (SWROCU), it was discovered that the duo scammed 55 victims in 26 different countries.

Cash totalled £835,000, which includes a suitcase containing £551,000 cash voluntarily handed over by Lee in January, as well as £64,000 worth of cryptocurrency, a Banksy print valued at £60,000 and three vehicles, have all been restrained.

The pair have been jailed after admitting to three counts of conspiracy to commit fraud. Lee was handed a four-year sentence and Heppel got 15 months at Bristol Crown Court on Friday 3 May. A confiscation order for nearly £1million was made against Lee, which will be used to compensate the victims.

FLORIN GRIU

A homeless woman fought off a drunk man who tried to rape her on a night out in Weston-super-Mare. Florin Griu consumed numerous alcoholic drinks as he visited various bars and clubs in the seaside town late on April 20 and April 21 last year.

Griu came across the woman who was sleeping rough at a High Street shop entrance where he climbed underneath her blanket and groped her genitals before 3am. As Griu removed her trousers and attempted to rape her, his victim cried out for help and pushed him away.

The Romanian national lingered around the scene but then fled minutes later. Griu denied two charges of attempted rape and sexual assault but was unanimously found guilty by a jury at Bristol Crown Court on April 4.

Griu was jailed for 10 years and will serve three years on licence when released. He will likely be deported following release from prison.

"Dangerous" Florin Griu was jailed at Bristol Crown Court for sexual attempt and attempted rape of a homeless woman in Weston-super-Mare
Jake Lee and James Heppel jailed after crypto scam

DEAN MAYO

A holidaymaker led police on a high-speed chase down the M5, reaching a shocking speed of 127mph. Dean Mayo, 28, refused to pull over when requested by police and instead accelerated, driving on the hard shoulder at 80mph before rejoining the main road and exceeding 100mph.

The pursuit ended near Cullompton when police used a stinger to stop him. Mayo had already ignored a request to stop near Junction 28 in Somerset and sped off on the hard shoulder, undertaking traffic before returning to the main road.

The incident occurred on March 22. Around 10:30pm, police identified a VW with cloned plates being driven south on the M5, reports Devon Live. Despite the stinger deflating his tyres, Mayo continued to drive but eventually stopped near Cullompton. He attempted to escape on foot, running through a hedge, but was apprehended after a foot chase with officers.

Mayo, who has no fixed address, appeared at Exeter Crown Court where he admitted to dangerous driving, having no insurance, failing to stop and driving while disqualified. He claimed that the car belonged to a friend and he was using it for a holiday trip to Cornwall.

It was later discovered that Mayo only held an expired provisional licence and was on licence from prison for another offence at the time. Although the car was not stolen, it was uninsured. Mayo's record includes 22 other offences, among them two instances of dangerous driving in 2015 and 2021. The judge sentenced Mayo to 16 months in prison, stating his driving had been highly dangerous and put other road users at risk.

Dean Mayo has been jailed for dangerous driving on the M5
"Dangerous" Florin Griu was jailed at Bristol Crown Court for sexual attempt and attempted rape of a homeless woman in Weston-super-Mare -Credit:Avon and Somerset Police

VINCENT SPARKES

A man has been jailed for life after pulling out a knife and stabbing a man in the chest during an altercation in a street. 44-year-old Vincent Sparkes, of Station Road, Swindon was found guilty of the murder of 41-year-old Neil Bambrick.

Sparkes was found guilty of murder and sentenced at Bristol Crown Court yesterday (Monday, May 13) after Neil died after being stabbed in Broad Street on July 11 last year. He will serve a minimum term of 17-and-a-half years behind bars after being convicted of murder.

Around 8.55pm on July 11, Sparkes and Mr Bambrick were involved in a street altercation. During the incident, Sparkes headbutted Mr Bambrick before pulling out a knife and stabbing him once in the chest. Mr Bambrick, who was unarmed, was rushed to hospital with life-threatening injuries. Despite the best efforts of the emergency services, he died due to his injuries in the early hours of the following morning in hospital.

Vincent Sparkes
Deam Mayo has been jailed for dangerous driving on the M5 -Credit:Devon & Cornwall Police

STEFAN BOLOHAN

A 39-year-old man has been jailed for 13 years after being found guilty of raping a woman in Bridgwater. Stefan Bolohan, of no fixed abode, was sentenced on Friday, May 24 at Taunton Crown Court which was sitting at North Somerset Magistrates' Court, following his conviction by a jury in March for one count of rape.

The court was informed that on Friday, June 3, 2022, Bolohan had committed the act of rape against a woman on the green opposite Clarks Road in Bridgwater. The incident was reported to the police the next day (June 4) and detectives assessed CCTV footage of the area to gather evidence.

After conducting several investigations, police issued a CCTV appeal to identify a suspect. Thanks to the public's assistance, the man was identified as Bolohan and he was taken into custody.

Judge Cook sentenced Bolohan to 13 years’ imprisonment, with an extended period of three years on licence. Along with the sentence, Bolohan was ordered to sign onto the sex offenders’ register. The judge also granted a life-long restraining order against Bolohan not to contact the victim.

Stefan Bolohan
Vincent Sparkes has been found guilty of murder following a street fight last year -Credit:Wiltshire Police

LUIS DA SILVA

A manipulative paedophile has been jailed after raping, abusing and tormenting a child for years. Luis Da Silva, 41, pleaded guilty to five sexual offences in total, including raping a child, after his victim bravely disclosed what he had done. Da Silva was sentenced to nine years and five months in prison, with a year-long extended licence on release. He has also been given an indefinite Sexual Harm Prevention Order as part of his sentence.

During sentencing at Bristol Crown Court, the hearing was told the investigation was launched in October last year after the victim told their family Da Silva had sexually abused them. The 41-year-old from Gillingham in Dorset, was charged on October 21 and has remained in police custody since.

The victim, who cannot be identified for legal reasons, said they have been "living a nightmare" and remain afraid of being alone, depsite Da Silva's conviction. In a statement, they said: “Since this happened to me, it has made me feel like I have been living a nightmare that I couldn’t wake up from. I feel scared of being on my own. I know he is in prison but it makes me feel worried, scared and stressed.”

Luis Da Silva 'manipulated' a child for years after abusing and grooming them, causing long-lasting fear
Stefan Bolohan, of no fixed address, was found guilty of rape. -Credit:Avon and Somerset Police