‘Beaten and left for dead – all for money' - three men jailed for killing Warwickshire man and stealing his bank cards

Three men have been jailed for a total of 59 years
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Three men have been jailed for a total of 59 years after being convicted of killing a Nuneaton man and stealing his bank cards.

Police were called on 3 September after Mark Hoverd was brought into hospital with several injuries including a serious head injury. Sadly he died later the same day.

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An investigation into the 57-year-old’s death began, which saw officers quickly identify three potential suspects – Francis Olner, 36, Aleksandrs Gudkovs, 43, and Stuart Grant, 42.

Mark HoverdMark Hoverd
Mark Hoverd

Warwickshire Police said: "After a meticulous investigation – including trawling thousands of hours of CCTV - the team were able to show trio had gone to James Diskin Court in the early hours of the morning.

"Mark was viciously attacked in his own home and left for dead. The men stole his bank cards then used them shortly afterwards to withdraw money from nearby cashpoints.

"When arrested, the three men gave conflicting stories – blaming one another and claiming to they hadn’t been inside Mark’s flat.

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"However comprehensive investigations continued, and the trio were subsequently charged with a number of offences."

Francis Olner, Aleksandrs Gudkovs and Stuart Grant.Francis Olner, Aleksandrs Gudkovs and Stuart Grant.
Francis Olner, Aleksandrs Gudkovs and Stuart Grant.

Following a three-week trial at Coventry Crown Court on Tuesday (March 26), Olner was found guilty of murder. Gudkovs and Grant were found not guilty of murder but guilty of manslaughter, while all three were found guilty of conspiracy to commit robbery, and had previously admitted five counts of fraud charges.

Yesterday (Wednesday) the three were sentenced.

Olner, of Manor Court Road, Nuneaton was given a life sentence for murder to serve a minimum term of 28 years in prison.

He was given 11 years for conspiracy to rob and 32 months for fraud - both of which will run concurrently to the murder sentence.

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Gudkovs, formerly of Coton Road, Nuneaton, was jailed for 15-and-a-half years for manslaughter.

He will also serve 11 years for conspiracy to rob, and two years and three months for the fraud charges concurrently to the manslaughter sentence.

Grant, of no fixed abode, received the same sentence as Gudkovs - 15-and-a-half years for manslaughter plus 11 years for conspiracy to rob, and two years and three months for fraud charges (all to be served concurrently to the manslaughter sentence.)

Following the sentencing, Senior Investigating Officer, Detective Chief Inspector Collette O’Keefe said: "This was a horrendously senseless and violent assault on a vulnerable man.

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“Even now it’s not truly clear why they chose to set on Mark in his home – beating him savagely and leaving him for dead.

“To then have the temerity to take his bank cards and withdraw cash makes what was already a heinous crime even more reprehensible.

“Not only was the attack pre-meditated, ultimately, it resulted in them taking the life of a vulnerable man, which is utterly devastating for Mark’s family.

“Mark did nothing to deserve this and none of the defendants have taken any responsibility nor have they shown any remorse since it happened.

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“I’m delighted with today’s outcome and the fact the jury saw through the lies of Olner, Gudkovs, and Grant.

“Their act of extreme violence will have devastating long-term consequences for Mark’s family and partner, and our thoughts remain with them at this challenging time.

“I hope this verdict brings them some comfort as they continue to come to terms with their tragic loss.

“I would like to thank the investigation team for their hard work, dedication, and professionalism throughout what has been an incredibly difficult case.

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“It has been a tremendous team effort – spanning multiple departments and specialisms – spending days painstakingly securing evidence to help build our case.

"Finally I'd also like to express my gratitude to the witnesses who showed great bravery in sharing their accounts - they all played a key part in making sure three dangerous offenders are now sat behing bars.”

The family and partner of Mark Hoverd have issued the following statements after the sentencing.

His family said: “Mark’s life was taken away from him while he was alone at home in a violent and brutal attack by total strangers in the early hours of Sunday 3 September 2023.

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“Mark lay fighting for his life for several hours before being discovered and sadly lost his fight later that day – all for money.

“Mark was a loving son, brother, father, uncle and friend – a gentle and kind soul who would never hurt anybody.

“We truly appreciate the help we received from the Victim Support homicide service and would like to thank the investigation team at Warwickshire Police who worked so tirelessly in gathering the evidence to identify the people responsible.

“Nothing will ever bring Mark back but knowing that justice will be served provides some comfort to us all.”

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Mark’s partner of almost eight years, Debbie Williams, added: “No outcome will bring Mark back and I will always love him.

“He was a kind and gentle man – a star that shone brightly - and I miss him every day.

“Until we meet again in heaven, I will love you eternally. God bless you and sleep tight.”