Thieves threatened to kill mum’s newborn in ‘terrifying’ raid
Burglars targeted an Asian family and threatened to kill their newborn baby if the mother did not hand them the gold. The men broke into the family home in Wrexham in broad daylight before coming face to face with landlord Berinder Dhaliwal.
One of the burglars snatched his baby girl from his hands as they grabbed the jewelry the victim was wearing, including his wedding ring. Ms Dhaliwal, who had had a caesarean section just eight weeks before the raid, was also punched in the abdomen.
They threatened to kill her baby if she did not say where her gold was stored, the Mold Crown Court heard today. She showed a jewelry box before the thugs took the contents and fled.
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John Price, 22, of no fixed abode, admitted conspiring to commit robbery and aiding an offender by preventing his arrest. Scott Powell, 23, of Y Wern in Wrexham, who helped move the getaway vehicle, admitted the same charges. Patrick Flynn, 19, of Station Court in Gwersyllt, has admitted a charge of conspiracy to commit robbery.
Prosecutor Simon Mintz told the court how a group planned to hit a house in Wrexham. They had, a few days earlier, spotted the property in a white van before pulling up just before 2:30 p.m. in September 2020 in a black Volkswagen vehicle, bearing cloned license plates.
The men, wearing surgical masks and dark clothing, thought they were in an empty house when they forced their way through the glass patio doors. However, minutes after arriving they were ‘shocked’ to find themselves face to face with Ms Dhaliwal on the landing, holding her baby girl in her arms.
Mr Mintz said they were ‘not deterred by her presence’ and instead huddled together to snatch the jewelery she was wearing at the time. A burglar then snatched the baby from her mother’s arms.
Ms Dhaliwal was then thrown onto a bed and beaten in the abdomen. Unbeknownst to the masked men, she had had a C-section just eight weeks prior and the wound was still healing.
A burglar, pointing at her what the victim thought was a screwdriver, asked “where’s the gold?”. They said they would kill the baby if she didn’t tell them where to look, the court heard.
The terrified mother took this threat seriously and ‘begged’ them not to hurt her child by pointing them to a jewelry box. They swept up the contents before escaping, leaving the battered and bruised mother-of-two to alert the police.
In a victim impact statement taken in April 2022, the victim described feeling “persistent anxiety and insomnia”. She no longer wears jewelry and has only been able to return to her work as a pharmacist on a part-time basis since the incident.
An investigation found “various items” belonging to the family at Powell’s home, Mr Mintz said. Police also found clothing that linked Flynn to the raid and discovered that the gang had attempted to hide the black Volkswagen at a different address to “thwart the police”.
In the days that followed, the court also heard that Flynn called his older brother, who is currently in jail for his role in the crime, to discuss the robbery. These had been taped and heard him say, “I’m taken, aren’t I? I’m taking years.”
Carl Woolf, defending Price, said his client is already serving a prison sentence handed down by Luton Crown Court for a “series of burglaries” he committed after the crime. He was in the area visiting his family from Wrexham at the time.
Mr Woolf told the judge Price had turned to crime to fund his drug use, which led him to spend hundreds of pounds a day on ‘a combination of crack and heroin’ at to smoke. So far, his time in prison has been the longest he has been drug-free.
Defending Flynn, Andrew Green said his client was “a man completely out of his depths” when he became involved in the raid. He admitted that his “fate is sealed” and that a long stay in prison awaited him for these “truly terrible acts”.
However, Mr Green said Flynn came to court to ‘face the music’ and expressed ‘nothing but genuine remorse’. He told his lawyers he would “give his left arm” to apologize to the victim.
Defending Powell, Matthew Curtis said his client had “ limited maturity and sophistication” when he helped try to hide the car near his mother’s house after the break-in. He added that Powell was “an ambitious and industrious young man” who worked his whole life in a variety of industries.
A young co-defendant, represented by Phil Tully, did not appear in court for sentencing. It has been explained that the 17-year-old’s ‘worried’ family have alerted the legal team that he has been missing from his home since yesterday (May 30).
The court heard he had attended all the hearings before and his action was “completely irrelevant”. Judge Niclas Parry issued a warrant to apprehend him and bring him before the courts.
Judge Parry called the raid an “appalling and extremely serious crime” which left the victim with “serious psychological harm”. He had no doubt that prison would be the only justifiable punishment.
He said: “This was a pre-planned attack on a property where you knew an Asian family was living. Because of this, you thought the gold would be kept there.
“Rather than leaving after being confronted by a lonely woman and her two-month-old baby, you called each other and accused her. You ripped a necklace from her neck and her wedding ring from her finger and brandished a gun as she clung to her baby.”
Price was imprisoned for seven and a half years. Flynn was sentenced to six years and two months while Powell was sentenced to one year and nine months.
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