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Plant thief sentenced to 10 years after crushing woman to death


A PLANT thief who crushed a woman to death while trying to steal a truckful of mini excavators has been jailed for ten years.

Stewart Dimech, 41, was jailed for the manslaughter of Cherita Gates, the wife of a plant hire owner in October 2004.

Mr Dimech's accomplice Lawrence Cawley, 33, was jailed for three years for conspiracy to steal.

Mr Dimech asked for a further 14 offences of theft to be taken into account.

He was sentenced to three and a half years for the thefts, to run concurrently.

Mrs Gates was crushed as she was trying to stop the machines being stolen from Fox's Plant Hire yard in Northolt, Middlesex.

The two men, from a travellers' site in Willesden, north London, are thought to be responsible for stealing a million pounds' worth of construction equipment in the area.

Mr Cawley was jailed in June 2004 for 18 months for stealing £500,000 of construction equipment, but was released early.

He was on licence at the time of the Nor tholt incident.