Two Men Jailed For Armed Raid On Shenley Home

Two robbers who were part of an armed gang who burst into a family's home in Shenley have been sent to prison.

Ronald Hill, his partner Fiona Miller and their two children, were confronted by five masked men who forced their way into their home in Queensway in January.

Mr Hill told the jury at St Albans crown court: "There were five people shouting and screaming in the lounge. They were wearing masks - balaclavas or scarves. They were armed with a combination of knives and a screwdriver.  Two men rushed in and grabbed me by the throat."

The dad of 2 was taken to his office where a knife was held against his throat by men who demanded cash and gold. £2,000 cash and a mobile phone were stolen.

Prosecutor Will Noble said four of the men rushed out of the house when Ms Miller managed to escape from the lounge and run to a neighbour. The fifth robber Jake Vidgen, 22, loaded a rucksack with empty boxes that had contained watches.

He ran out of the house after the others, but was rugby-tackled by a neighbour who held him until the police arrived. Vidgen had a scarf around his face and socks over his hands.

Vidgen's phone was analysed and it led them to 33 year-old Craig Lynch, who was also arrested.

Vidgen, of Bell Close, Edgware, admitted the robbery of Ronald Hill on 22 January this year. He also admitted stealing a white diamond £3,950 ring from Nelken jewellers in Borehamwood. On 18 July he asked to see the ring, snatched it and ran from the shop. He had 28 convictions for 56 offences.

Lynch, of Rannoch Close, Edgware, denied the robbery charge, but was convicted by the jury. He had 22 court appearances for 66 offences.

Richard Storey, for Vidgen, said the ring was recovered. He said Vidgen did not know children were in the house at the time of the robbery.   When giving evidence, Lynch said he was not involved in the robbery. He said he had gone to Mr Hill's home earlier to sell him some bangles belonging to his wife, but said Mr Hill told him he had no money to buy them. He denied that going to the house was a ruse to find out who was there.

Judge Marie Catterson said: "Mr Hill had a knife held to his throat in the presence of his wife and children." She sentenced Vidgen to a total of 7 years and 9 months and Lynch to 8 years 6 months.

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