Knife-wielding gang mistakenly burst into Thorpe St Andrew home

Norwich Crown Court. Photo: Adrian Judd

Norwich Crown Court. Photo: Adrian Judd

A knife-wielding gang mistakenly burst into a Thorpe St Andrew home and demanded drugs from a mother, while her young daughter was asleep upstairs, a court heard.

Michael Mensah, 23, along with four other men, used a paving slab to smash into the woman's home on Pound Lane on November 21 last year.

One gang member then held a knife to the woman's throat and demanded: "Where is the food", which is a slang term for drugs.

David Wilson, prosecuting at Norwich Crown Court, said it was every householder's "worst nightmare" and said: "It is quite clear they had got the wrong information."

Mensah, from Luton, has denied aggravated burglary on November 21, 2018.

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The tearful victim, who was 42 at the time, told a jury how she was upstairs with her daughter, when she heard a smash and went downstairs to find a man in her lounge holding a large knife.

She said four other men, all wearing hoodies as a disguise, then climbed through the window. She said two of them were armed with knives and one had an iron bar.

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She said she was thrown onto the sofa and a knife was held to her throat by one of the gang, who kept demanding: "Where is the food."

The victim said she had no idea what he was talking about.

She was then grabbed by her tracksuit top and taken upstairs where she was made to sit on a bed while other gang members searched the two bedrooms, including one where her daughter was sleeping.

She said after finding nothing, one of them said: "It's not here, let's go."

After they left, the victim phoned police after checking on her daughter and said it had been "terrifying."

Police were quickly on the scene and blood was found on a wall and on her top which matched the DNA of Mensah.

His palm print was also found on the smashed window pane.

Mr Wilson said Mensah was arrested on January 13 this year at Luton Airport as he was about to fly out of the UK.

At first he made no comment but then tried to claim he had travelled from London to Norwich with friends and had called at an address where he had been play fighting with a knife and got cut.

Mr Wilson said Mensah had now changed his story again claiming he was made to take part in what happened as he was put under duress.

"He now accepts he was present on the evening in question," Mr Wilson said.

The trial continues.

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