Violent lifer goes on crime spree while on day release from HMP Springhill, but only gets 18 months added to his sentence

Springhill lifer Darren Crossgill who committed violent crimes while on day release
Springhill lifer Darren Crossgill who committed violent crimes while on day release

A violent criminal serving 12 life sentences for brutal robberies carried out four more offences - after being let out on day release.

Darren Crossgill, 39, was jailed in 2003 for 12 robberies where taxi drivers and shopkeepers were beaten with bricks and a wheelbrace or punched and kicked.

But 10 years into his sentence he was allowed day release as part of his “reintegration into society” after convincing the authorities he no longer posed a risk.

He was let out of HMP Springhill on November 4, 2013 and at 11pm that night pounced on BP cashier Cheryl Andrews as she locked up and stole £400 in cash.

Crossgill and an accomplice fled the garage in Gravesend, Kent, looking for a getaway car and spotted chef Sam Papa, 22, parking up outside his home.

Crossgill used violence ‘over and beyond’ and brutally stamped on his face while his accomplice stole his Rover.

Maidstone Crown Court heard their young victim cannot remember the savage attack and was left with facial injuries and problems with his sense of smell and memory.

Crossgill slipped back to the prison after committing the two offences and just five days later was allowed out again on temporary release by the unsuspecting authorities.

He then went on to commit two more petrol station robberies - attacking two customers at BP garages in Woolwich, SE London with a brick - and then went on the run.

Crossgill was caught on CCTV and arrested almost a month later.

Last August Crossgill was jailed for seven-and-a-half years for the second two robberies.

On Monday he was given a further nine years at Maidstone after admitting the previous attacks in Gravesend.

Crossgill is now at HMP Elmley in Kent and his new prison terms effectively mean his earliest possible parole date has been put back just 18 months to August 2023.

Judge Philip St. John-Stevens despite posing a significant risk of serious harm, it was not necessary to impose a sentence for public protection as the life sentence already provided that.

But he said: “On November 4, 2013 you were on day release. Clearly the authorities thought you no longer posed a danger. Unfortunately they were wrong.”

Crossgill’s convictions for robbery date from 1992 when he was aged just 16.

Before being given 12 life sentences in 2003 for robberies in which he beat victims with a wheelbrace he had served previous sentences of two years, 30 months and eight years.

The victims of his 12 robberies in 2003 were minicab drivers and shopkeepers across SE London who were struck on the head with implements including a brick and a wheel brace, or punched and kicked.

Christopher Meredith, defending, told the court the robberies in Gravesend were “spontaneous and opportunistic” and not well-planned.