Burglar threatened couple with hammer in their own home in Leeds

A BURGLAR terrified his neighbours by threatening them with a hammer in their own home before stealing their car.

Paul Doherty

Paul Doherty was given a seven year prison ,sentence over the attack at the couple’s home in Churwell, Leeds.

Leeds Crown Court heard Doherty targeted the property on the evening of March 4 this year in a bid to steal the car which was parked on the driveway outside the couple’s home.

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Doherty, 32, armed himself with a hammer before walking into the property as the couple were watching TV.

Doherty stood over the male victim and raised the weapon before demanding the keys to the vehicle.

He then took the keys before driving off but crashed the vehicle into some railings.

The car, worth around £11,000, was extensively damaged and had to be written off after the collision.

Doherty, of Hepworth Avenue, Churwell, was arrested at the scene.

His DNA was found on the air bag of the vehicle.

He refused to provide a specimen of blood when taken to a police station.

He pleaded guilty to aggravated burglary, aggravated vehicle taking, driving without insurance, driving without a licence and failing to provide a specimen of blood.

The court heard Doherty has a bad record of offending.

He was jailed for four years in 2003 for robbery offences. One of the offences involved Doherty taking a vehicle after using threats of violence.

Ian Cook, mitigating, said his client had admitted the offences at an early opportunity and was ashamed of what he had done to his victims.

The lawyer said Doherty wished to make contact with them to say sorry.

Mr Cook said Doherty had been out of trouble for around six years before the incident after being free of drugs for a considerable period. He had built up a debt with dealers.

Mr Cook said Doherty’s drug use and offending was linked to post traumatic stress disorder after he was the victim of an unprovoked street attack which resulted in him being stabbed.

Jailing Doherty, judge Geoffrey Marson, QC, said: “It must have been a terrifying experience for the householder to find you in the house with a hammer, lifting it and threatening him, causing him to fear for his life.

“I have no doubt the psychological trauma of what took place will live with him for many years to come.

“It was a gross and wicked invasion of someone’s home.”

Referring the to the drug debt, he said: “I do not regard that as the slightest mitigation. You brought that on yourself and decided to inflict this trauma on your victim.”