A COUPLE were terrorised and robbed in their own home by two men wearing balaclavas who threatened them with a knife.
During their traumatic ordeal the husband was bitten by one of his attackers and lost part of his ear as he tried to resist them.
Leeds Crown Court heard yesterday their nightmare began after the husband got up to investigate a banging noise outside their home in Earlsheaton, Dewsbury, as they were watching television on the evening of August 13 last year.
Christopher Aspinall, prosecuting, said the husband ran upstairs and looked out of the window to see what was happening.
He could see a pair of legs and knew someone was there so he went down to the front door with the intention of scaring them off.
But when he opened the door he was immediately confronted by a man in a balaclava who lunged at him, pushing him inside the house and began to grapple with him.
As he heard his wife screaming, he was aware of a second man inside the house who joined in the attack on him.
He was pushed to the floor and felt an extreme pain to his upper back and heard one of the intruders making a “growling noise”.
One was saying: “Where is the money, where is the safe?”. He was being held so tightly in a headlock that he vomited.
Mr Aspinall said meanwhile his wife had tried to get help by dialling 999 without success.
She was screaming at the men to get off her husband and tried to help him but was dragged away by her pony tail and ended up in a foetal position on the floor as one of the men held a knife to her neck.
Her husband stopped resisting after he was told: “Look at this, I’m going to cut your bird’s throat.”
They again demanded money and after the wife explained the safe was upstairs but they needed her husband’s finger prints to open it, they were both forced upstairs.
The safe was opened and two brown envelopes containing £5,500 were taken along with some tobacco and keys to the house.
The raiders forced the woman downstairs and told her husband to remain where he was but when he looked out and saw the two men disappearing he rushed downstairs to look for his wife before collapsing.
She had already been released. The male victim was found to have a bite mark on his back, part of his ear missing and other grazes and bruises.
His T-shirt was examined and DNA was found which led police to Paul Gray, who claimed initially that he had been there to collect a debt.
His accomplice has yet to be caught.
Gray, 40 of Ravensthorpe Road, Dewsbury was yesterday given an indeterminate sentence for public protection for the robbery.
Ordering him to serve a minimum of four and a half years in jail, Judge Roger Ibbotson said it was an extremely serious offence in the couple’s own home at night which had clearly been pre-planned. “You were both wearing balaclavas to hide your identities, there was violence from the outset and rough handling of the occupants.”
The court heard that Gray had previous convictions for offences of violence including one where a club doorman was bitten and the judge told him: “It indicates an extremely unpleasant propensity on your behalf to bite people.”
Andrew Dallas, for Gray, said he had been asked to go along that night by the other man “to act as muscle” and could not deny that violence had been used, but other offences in his past were when he was young and were now out of character for him, which did not suggest he was someone to be considered dangerous.