A gang who burst into the home of a young family near Preston while wearing skull masks and brandishing weapons have been jailed.Advertisement
Warton man Scott Peters, 26, was jailed following a 14-week trial after pleading not guilty, while his three accomplices pleaded guilty to robbery.
The terrifying incident saw the four men enter the house in Longridge in February 2014 at 4.30pm.
A mother was teaching her eight year old son to read at the kitchen table while her 10-year-old boy was having a shower upstairs.
Armed with a sledgehammer and knives the gang threatened the family, holding a knife to the mother’s throat before punching her in the head and assaulting the two children.
They demanded access to the family safe knowing it held legally contained shotguns and ammunition.
After retrieving their stash they used a dressing gown cord to tie up the mother and her sons before barricading them into the bathroom by pushing a wardrobe against the door.
The four members are Scott Peters, 26, of Harbour Lane, Warton.
Jake Smith, 26 of no fixed address, Tom Yeung, 22, of Navigation Wharf, Liverpool and Michael White, 26, of Sybil Road, Liverpool.
Scott Peters was sentenced to 13 and a half years imprisonment for the robbery while Michael White was given a 15 year extended sentence.
Tom Yeung and Jake Smith were sentenced for the robbery and also for their part in a false imprisonment and blackmail offence in Hull in October 2014. Yeung was given a total of 19 years for both offences and Smith, who was found with £36,000 worth of controlled drugs on his arrest, was given a life sentence with a 30 year tariff.
Enquiries by the investigation team led officers to Scott Peters, who was an associate of the victim’s husband and knew where he lived, that he was a gun enthusiast, had access to a number of legally held firearms and crucially that he would not be at home at the time they planned the attack.
Peters used his connections in Merseyside and arranged for Michael White, Tom Yeung, Jake Smith and another man to carry out the attack. The group had met the previous night in Preston in what was thought to be a planning meeting.
The officer that led the investigation, Detective Inspector Paddy O’Neill from Lancashire Police’s Force Major Investigation Team said: “This was a well-planned, ruthless and targeted attack. Peters knew that at 4.30pm the mother would have done the school run and been back home, but her husband wouldn’t have been. They were sitting in the kitchen doing school work when four masked men walked in through the back door – the ordeal the family were subsequently put through was nothing short of horrendous. The parents have shown great fortitude over the last two years in supporting the investigation and giving difficult yet critical witness testimonies in court. For that I am grateful.
“This has been a complex, demanding and protracted investigation involving a number of other forces and partner agencies. Lancashire Police is committed to making our communities safer, targeting gangs and securing justice for victims of crime. These convictions and the lengthy prison sentences mean that we have achieved that. I sincerely hope that this brings some closure for the family who have suffered much during and since this appalling attack.”
Dean McGrath, 27, of Penrose Street, Liverpool, who was on trial for the Longridge robbery but was acquitted, was sentenced to a 17 and a half year extended term for his part in the Hull offence, with Lee Seymour, 30, of Brightmore Drive, Sheffield receiving a two year imprisonment suspended for two years for his involvement in the Hull offence.
Preston man Zainul James, 26, now of HMP Strangeways was acquitted of being involved in the Longridge robbery following the trial at Preston Crown Court.