December 19 2014 Latest news:
Peter Walsh, Crime correspondent
Wednesday, May 7, 2014
A man armed with a “Rambo-style” combat knife or machete went into a house in Norwich and told the occupants they were going to “die one by one”, a court has heard.
Stuart Stanger is alleged to have entered a property on Magdalen Road, Norwich, through a back door and went through the kitchen and into the house with the weapon.
Inside were four men, door-to-door salesmen originally from Leicester who had been staying in rented accommodation in Norwich while working here.
The victims who had finished work for the day had ordered pizza and were in the lounge - with another man asleep upstairs - when the defendant is alleged to have come in and threatened them by telling them they were “looking into the face of death” and were all going to die.
Stanger, 48, of Magdalen Road, Norwich, has gone on trial at Norwich Crown Court after he denied affray and having an article with a blade or point on August 28 last year.
Jamie Sawyer, prosecuting, said it was about 10.40pm when there was a “knock at the door at back entrance of property”.
He said the man, who was carrying a knife or machete, asked them if they were the ones from Leicester.
Mr Sawyer said the victims lied and told him they were not.
He said: “He went into make a number of threatening comments to them.
“He said ‘Why are you scared? You’re looking into the face of death are you scared of death? You’re going to die one by one.”
But after insisting they were not “the ones from Leicester” Mr Sawyer said Stanger said “looks like I’ve got the wrong house then” and left after shaking hands with one of the men.
The victims fled - one hiding in bushes near the Artichoke pub - and called police who arrested the defendant at a nearby address.
Giving evidence yesterday from behind a screen, one of the alleged victims said four of them were in the lounge eating pizza when the defendant entered.
He said: “We heard a bang from the back door area. As we turn to look up the defendant is standing there holding a machete.”
He described the weapon as a Rambo-style combat knife or machete about a foot long with a silver blade and black handle.
When asked by Mr Sawyer how he felt, he replied “scared, really scared”.
The witness said the defendant asked if any of them were from Leicester and revealed they all lied.
Two of the alleged victims had “darted behind” the witness, who revealed everyone was “petrified”.
He said the defendant asked why were they so scared when death was facing them in the eye.
The defendant was described as “calm” as he sat on a sofa, spoke and pointed the weapon at them.
The jury of eight men and four women heard how the defendant left after about five minutes once the men managed to persuade them they were not from Leicester - and after he had shaken hands with one of them.
John Farmer, defending, in cross examination, put it to the witness that, he might have been mistaken in what he heard and it could have been “Don’t worry it’s not a matter of life or death”.
But the witness said he was sure he was not wrong about what was said.
Mr Farmer also suggested there was no knife and that they had decided among each other to say there was a knife.
He replied: “That’s incorrect.”
Another witness, also giving evidence from behind a screen, said the defendant had a knife, which was about a foot long, when he entered.
He said he felt “really frightened” by the man who uttered something along the lines of ‘You’re not so funny when your facing death”.
But he said the man left after being told that none of them were from Leicester and after shaking hands with one of them which this witness said he found “really strange”.
Mr Farmer, in cross examination, said: “There was no knife was there?”
The witness said: “There was guaranteed a knife 100pc.”
The trial continues.