Masked machete intruders jalied for home raid

Ross Byrne and Adam Stewart
Ross Byrne and Adam Stewart
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Two masked thieves armed with a machete carried out a terrifying raid on the home of a Blackpool mum-of-two, a court heard.

Ross Byrne and Adam Stewart, disguised in balaclavas, literally kicked the front door off its hinges before entering the house on Inver Road, Bispham, demanding to know where occupant’s son was.

But, despite the pair being jailed for a total of 17 years yesterday, their victim still has no idea why her home was targeted.

Preston Crown Court heard the pair ransacked the house searching for items to steal as the victim was on the phone to police, begging for help.

The duo, searched through two bedrooms and stole a flat screen TV, as the victim’s 10-year- old daughter slept in a third bedroom.

The judge dealing with the case said it was hard to imagine a more terrifying experience for a mother, alone at home, her daughter sleeping.

Byrne, 24, of Chatburn Avenue, Rochdale was jailed for nine years and 24-year-old Adam Stewart, of Henderston Street, Rochdale was jailed for eight years, with a three years extended licence to follow.

The court heard the pair had both had pleaded guilty to a charge of aggravated burglary. Their crime dated back to April last year and as a result of the terror she felt that night, the victim has been forced to move house.

Prosecutors said the woman had gone into the kitchen for a smoke when she heard someone trying to open her front door. She went on to see two men behind the glass in the door and one began to shout “Get away from the door. We’re coming in”.

As the door was smashed off its hinges, it revealed two balaclava-clad men, one wearing latex gloves and one holding a machete.

One ran at the mother, screaming “Where’s your son? Where’s your money?”

They then ran upstairs and there were banging and crashing noises. The woman was on the telephone asking for the police while they were inside her home. The pair stole a 42 inch flat screen TV worth £500, a crash helmet and an X box games console.

The court heard how a wardrobe and chest of drawers had been rifled through in the woman’s bedroom. But, it did not appear that the 10-year-old daughter’s room was entered.

The defendants ran from the scene, but were linked to what happened through their DNA, found on a face mask and a latex glove.

In a victim impact statement, the victim said she had been absolutely terrified by what happened.

She said “I have no idea why they picked my address.

“Out of all the houses in the street they chose mine”.

She added: “I still don’t know why I was targeted.

“I kept having traumatic nightmares about people getting stabbed and murdered”.

Lawyers representing both men said they had taken alcohol and cocaine that night.

The weapon had not been used in any physical way and no physical injury had occurred.

One of the thieves was described as having felt sick when he heard what effect the crime had had on their victim.

Judge Christopher Cornwall told the pair: “This is really serious crime.

“It is difficult to imagine a more terrifying experience for a mother alone in her house at night, save for her 10-year-old daughter asleep in bed.

“You had both taken a deadly combination of alcohol and cocaine and left in your wake a devastated woman.

“You and others like you who think it is acceptable behaviour to burst into somebody else’s home at night, armed with a weapon, just simply have to understand that the court will deprive you of your liberty for as long as it is permitted to do so.”

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