24th Sep, 2018

Burglar terrified 98-year-old great gran and girl, 10, in bathroom

A BURGLAR terrified a 10-year-old girl and her 98-year-old great-grandmother after bursting into the bathroom where they had taken refuge, demanding to know where the family’s safe was.

And the previous month Declan Lee had taken part in an armed raid at a trampoline park where two members of staff had been forced to open the safes at gunpoint.

Lee (28) of Swan Lane, Coventry, was jailed for a total of seven years after pleading guilty at Warwick Crown Court to charges of burglary and robbery.

Prosecutor Tim Sapwell said that on February 22, just two weeks after it had opened, two staff members at the Red Kangaroo indoor trampoline centre in School Lane, Exhall, were tidying up after it had closed for the day at 8pm.

The front door was still unlocked when Lee walked in to check who was there, but purportedly to ask about making a booking

Then three other men wearing masks, one carrying a gun, burst in grabbed and the male member of staff round the neck, demanding to be taken to the safe.

He and his female colleague were then taken to the office and forced at gunpoint to open the two safes before being ordered to sit on the floor while the safes were emptied.

The three robbers left with around £12,000 in cash – jumping into the getaway car with Lee – and the two petrified staff members made 999 calls on their mobile phones.

Mr Sapwell said the woman was so traumatised she quit her job.

Lee was identified by the centre’s CCTV recording and by the time he was arrested he had also taken part, possibly with the same three men, in the terrifying burglary at a family’s home in Treherne Road, Coventry, on March 31.

The four men arrived in the same black car, and the first walked through the unlocked front door and confronted the 67-year-old occupant, demanding her phone.

She fled through the back door into the garden as the other raiders entered the house, and Lee immediately went upstairs where the woman’s 10-year-old granddaughter and 98-year-old mother had locked themselves in the bathroom.

He forced his way in, telling the young girl: “I won’t hurt you. Just tell me where the safe is.”

She pointed to the front bedroom, and he turned out cupboards and drawers in his hurried attempt to find the safe, before turning over a second bedroom.

But he was unable to find it – and the four left empty-handed.

When arrested, Lee admitted taking part in the raids, and said he thought the gun used by one of the others was real, and had seen it being loaded in the car.

He said he had reluctantly joined the group with a friend that day and was told to go in and check out the centre.

It was claimed the house raid had also his friend’s idea and he had been under pressure to take part because he owed £2,000 for some drugs.

His barrister Marcus Harry explained Lee had been working as a chef, but had lost the job because of his drug use, and had then been told to look after some drugs for his dealer.

But the £2,000 worth of drugs had been discovered by his girlfriend who had flushed them down the toilet.

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