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EXCLUSIVE: Former freemason faces jail over 'vicious attack' on woman with crowbar


A FORMER freemason who has been questioned about a string of crimes including kidnap and a double murder faces jail for a burglary which saw a woman’s limbs broken with a crowbar.

Sam Vinden, 45, who admitted the violent burglary which also saw the woman’s teeth smashed in, had been mired in a series of investigations into extreme violence over a 13 year period.

In one case, his DNA was found on a gun used in a double murder, although he was never charged and it was an associate who was convicted.

When he has been in court – on charges including kidnap and wounding with intent – the cases have been dropped by the prosecution.

HORRIFIC: Kenza Spearman (left) and Michael Colbear who were attacked in the barn in 2007

But last week he admitted aggravated burglary after breaking into a woman’s house and battering her with a crow bar, knocking out her teeth and breaking an arm and a leg.

Vinden denied aggravated burglary, grievous bodily harm with intent and criminal damage, but changed his pleas to guilty on day eight of a Cambridge Crown Court trial last week.

He went to the home of Amanda Poole, aged in her 30s, in Farcet, near Peterborough, with two sons at about 6.30am on August 29 2017.

He smashed windows, damaged the front door and once inside made demands of the victim before launching the attack.

Detective Constable Stuart Miller said: “This was a vicious attack which caused the victim significant injuries as well as a substantial amount of psychological trauma.”

Vinden had been involved in numerous brushes with the law for more than a decade, but his first convictions for more than 15 years - for three assaults - only came in March this year.

DOSSER: Christopher Line (Suffolk Police)

Before Vinden senior's trial, in March this year, he was jailed for four months after admitting assaults on three members of the Newsome family in Cambridgeshire on May 15 2016. Prior to that he and his so-called “dosser” Christopher Line, 35, were at the centre of a series of police investigations across Essex and Suffolk from 2005 to 2012.

Dossers are often vulnerable settled community people groomed by some travellers to act as their live-in skivvies.

Vinden “recruited” Line outside Basildon Job centre soon after moving from Cambridgeshire to Essex in about 2004.

In 2005 Line was jailed for 30 months after he admitted possessing an unlicensed sawn-off shotgun with expanding bullets. It was found in a caravan on Vinden’s pitch at Meadow Lane traveller site, Wickford.

By 2006, Vinden moved Line and his family to Hockley, near Southend, where he illegally developed a caravan pitch and joined a local freemasons lodge and rotary club.

ESCORT: Vinden waits for armed Met Police to sort his lift from court in 2009

That October Vinden and Line allegedly waged a campaign of terror against a farm owner in nearby Rochford, who signed over 17 acres of land into Line’s name, after the pair allegedly kidnapped and threatened to kill him.

In November Vinden dressed as Father Christmas for the rotary club as part of the Hockley Christmas lights switch on.

An off duty policeman was that evening maced in the face by a man in a Santa costume.

Vinden was arrested but never charged.

In January 2017 two boys aged 17 were lured to a barn on the farm Vinden now had possession of where they were tortured with a machete and iron hook.

SICK: The machete used in the bar attacks

Their facial injuries were so bad a witness who saw them thought they were in Halloween costumes.

Line was arrested cleaning a machete at the barn, while Vinden went on the run, handing himself in eight weeks later.

Vinden and Line were both charged with wounding with intent and remanded in custody.

Their trial over the machete attack began at Basildon Crown Court in October 2007.

On day one the prosecution called it a revenge attack after Vinden believed the teens set fire to a prize stallion.

SPLASH: The Echo newspaper's front=page report of day one of the trial

The court heard Vinden was a freemason who phoned an Essex Police detective’s mobile phone before going on the run.

Day two saw the case dropped after prosecutors made a secret public interest immunity (PII) application to the judge in chambers.

Such applications are made in the interest of national security or to protect covert surveillance techniques or police informant’s identities.

A second trial was also abandoned. This was due to look at the alleged kidnap and extortion of the farm owner. At a later civil case, which saw armed police at the court, a judge ruled that Vinden had extorted the man.

Vinden and Line relocated to Dale Farm traveller site in Basildon, but by summer 2009 their mobile home was burnt down in a suspected arson attack.

ARSON: Vinden's pitch near Dale Farm after it was torched in an arson attack

Vinden was also attacked with a baseball bat by another traveller.

While Vinden and Line had been remanded in 2007 over the machete attack, Essex Police had a £3million drugs bust that was connected to Dale Farm. Essex Police refused to discuss the PII application when local press made enquiries, but added: "The suggestion that the PII hearing and the decision to dismiss the 2007 trial was linked with a later police operation is incorrect and without merit.” From the safety of Suffolk, Vinden tried to sue the Rochford farm owner for fraudulently taking his own land back, amid claims he had bought it with £100,000 cash. A week long hearing took place at Central London County Court in late September 2009. Vinden, his wife Sarah Vinden, and Line were driven to and from court each day by the Metropolitan Police.

TAXI: Vinden (pointing), wife Sarah and Line shown to taxi by police outside Central London County Court

Several armed police inside and outside the court asked people arriving if they were a now late named Dale Farm traveller. One day one Met Police supt Jon Morgan spent several hours trying to convince Judge Mr Justice Burke not to allow the case to proceed amid claims of "complications," however he was unsuccessful. Judge Burke later found against Vinden and Line, saying it was OK for the owner to forge the signature because the land had been extorted from him by the pair. During the civil trial Line even admitted the machete attacks claiming it was "self defence."

CIVIL MATTER: Huge numbers of police outside Central London County Court for a land dispute

This prompted an Essex Police review, which found there was "no new evidence."

Meanwhile, Vinden and Line had moved to Willow Park traveller site, Mildenhall, Suffolk.

At around 10.30pm on March 15 2011 Shane Hill, 20, and David Castell, 29, from south Essex were found blasted to death there.

Mr Hill’s body was outside Vinden’s pitch, while Mr Castell was shot dead in a blazing nearby car.

As firefighters arrived, a white van screeched from the site, but was never traced by police.

Vinden and Line were arrested on suspicion of the murders.

Only Line was charged.

EXECUTED: Shane Hill (left) and David Castell who were both shot dead

He denied the murders during a 2012 trial at Ipswich Crown Court where it emerged Vinden’s DNA was found on the murder weapon.

The jury heard he was in regular phone contact with Line minutes before and after the murders.

The prosecution said the victims were there because of a feud with Vinden, but he was not required to give evidence about movements that day or what phone calls with Line were about.

The court heard at 7.40pm Vinden called Det Sgt Andy Fuller to say he was leaving the area due to a “bad feeling” and that evidence showed Vinden’s phone travelling away from the site just before the murders.

Line was convicted on both counts of murder and jailed for 35 years.

After the murders Vinden relocated to Farcet where he attacked Ms Poole last year.

An Essex traveller source said: “We called him the Teflon Traveller, because nothing ever stuck, but it looks like his luck might have run out.”

Vinden, also from Farcet, will be sentenced in November.

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