Terror in Rowcroft: Gary’s our hero
Taylor family pay tribute to their son’s heroic actions.
Our Gary is a hero - words used by David and Jennifer Taylor to describe their son, who fought off a gun-wielding robber in the family’s Honiton home.
The couple, of Rowcroft Close, say the terrifying incident could have been far worse if it was not for Gary’s have-a-go-hero instinct.
Speaking after a judge at Exeter Crown Court sentenced the intruder to 14 years in prison, David said: “I would just like to say that without my son Gary’s heroics and bravery we could have suffered a far worse fate.
“His mum and I are so grateful that he was at home at the time of the aggravated burglary.
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Mrs Taylor added: “I am very proud; he couldn’t have done more. He was my hero that day.”
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Gary, 38, was sitting and talking with his mother on the evening of January 9, 2011, when two masked men came into the property.
“I can remember it all,” says Gary. He told the Midweek Herald that when he first caught a glimpse of two men wearing balaclavas he thought it was his brother’s friends playing a joke, but soon realised the men were there for money.
“I knew it was serious,” he said.
“I was just trying to get them away from my mum.
“I was more scared for my mum than myself,” added Gary.
“It was lucky that I was there. I was only there for 15 minutes before it happened.”
A recovered balaclava later formed the basis of DNA evidence that proved crucial in bringing a case against Max Michael Wilson to justice. However, he’s on the run and a police manhunt is under way to find him.
During the incident, Gary was stabbed multiple times and sustained a number of puncture wounds to his body - one wound under his arm required stitches.
Mrs Taylor said: “I feel relieved that it is all over, but I feel apprehensive because he is still out there.”
Wilson was tried in his absence and has been on the run since February.
Mr Taylor added: “Justice has been served.”
The incident has had a lasting effect on Mrs Taylor.
She said: “It has made me very frightened. If I hear a sudden noise or different voices in the house I get very scared.”
She also says she suffered nightmares following the burglary.
But she admits it could have been worse if her son had not been in the house.
“I am glad Gary was there. I don’t know what would have happened to me.”
She added: “I would just like to thank the excellent work of the police and the detectives.”
The family has also thanked their friends and neighbours for their support during this difficult time.