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Armed raiders threatened to kill Solihull couple

A SOLIHULL couple were tied up and held captive in their own home after two armed raiders burst into the house and robbed them of cash and jewellery.

A SOLIHULL couple were tied up and held captive in their own home after two armed raiders burst into the house and robbed them of cash and jewellery.

Car dealer Leslie Smith and his wife Patricia were threatened with being raped and killed and their home burned down during their hour-long ordeal.

And a Judge has heard their harrowing experience has left the couple so traumatised that they have decided they have got to move because they no longer feel safe.

Their heroin-addicted captors Carl Green and Wesley Toms pleaded guilty at Warwick Crown Court to aggravated burglary and taking their grandson’s car without consent.

Toms (30) of Murfield Gardens, Kings Norton, was jailed for eight years, but Green (30) of Redlands House, Deelands Road, Rubery, was given an indeterminate prison sentence for the protection of the public.

Judge Christopher Hodson, who had ruled that Green was a dangerous offender, ordered him to serve a minimum of four years – after which he will remain in prison indefinitely until the Parole Board decides it is safe to free him.

Prosecutor Raj Punia said that at 5pm on April 15 Mr and Mrs Smith were in the kitchen of their home in Colebrook Road, Shirley, with their adult grandson Grant Williams when Green and Toms burst in through the front door.

Green was armed with a kitchen knife with a 12-inch blade, while Toms brandished an axe above his head as they ordered: “Get to the floor and do what you’re told.”

The raiders demanded: “Where is the Smart car? Where are the keys? Where is the money in the house?”

And one told Mr Smith: “If you don’t hand over the cash, I’ll slit your wife’s throat.”

Mr Williams’s ring was forced from his finger and Green used the knife to cut a gold chain from his neck before the family was ordered into the front room where their hands were bound behind their backs with cable.

Toms then forced Mr Smith upstairs while Green stood guard over Mrs Smith and Mr Williams, and when she asked to loosen her grandson’s ties because his hands were changing colour, Green threatened to ‘cut his face.’

Meanwhile upstairs Toms demanded the key to the safe, and when Mr Smith told him where it was he opened the safe and took £15,000 worth of jewellery from it.

Searching the bedroom Toms, who allowed Mrs Smith to bring her husband’s medication when he began to feel unwell because of a heart condition, found £2,000 under the mattress.

He threatened to kill them all if he found any more cash they had not told him about, then took Mr Smith, who had a ring forced from his finger, back down to join his wife.

The intruders, who also took three mobile phones and a laptop computer, threatened Mrs Smith: “If you call the police we’ll come back and rape you in front of your husband, then rape your husband, kill you and burn the house down.”

After they had driven off in Mr Williams’s BMW, she managed to free herself and release her husband and grandson, and the police were called.

When they were arrested three days later Toms denied being involved, and Green, whose previous convictions include two for robbery, said he had been acting under duress after a drug dealer had threatened to hurt his girlfriend.

Miss Punia added that the Smiths say the incident has had a dramatic impact on them, and even having security measures including a panic alarm fitted, they live in constant fear and have decided they will have to move from the house.

Gurdip Singh Garcha, for Green, said an addiction to heroin underpinned all his offending, adding: “While it was a terrifying ordeal, there was very limited actual violence.”

Tim Pole, for Toms, pointed out he had allowed Mrs Smith to get her husband’s medication.

Jailing the two, Judge Hodson told them: “You invaded the home of this comparatively elderly couple and tied them up in a successful attempt to steal a considerable amount of jewellery and cash.

You were in the house threatening and tying up these people for about an hour. Your victims would have been absolutely petrified by your actions.”



Cathrina Hulse
Multimedia Journalist
Annette Belcher
Multimedia Journalist
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