Member of knife-wielding gang who mistakenly burst into family home found guilty of aggravated burglary

Norwich Crown Court. Photo: Adrian Judd

Norwich Crown Court. Photo: Adrian Judd

A member of a knife-wielding gang who mistakenly burst into a home and demanded drugs from a mother while her young daughter slept upstairs has been warned he faces jail.

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

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

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

Mensah, from Luton, had denied aggravated burglary on November 21 last year, but the jury took about three hours to find him guilty of the offence.

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Mensah sat with his head bowed in the dock when the verdict was returned.

He tried to claim he was forced to go along with the gang after he was put under duress and threatened over a drugs debt.

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His barrister, Adam Butler, said Mensah accepted it was inevitable he would be jailed for the offence.

Judge Anthony Bate adjourned sentence until August 5 and remanded Mensah in custody.

During the trial, the victim, who was 42 at the time, told how 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.

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 dragged upstairs and her home was searched before the gang left after finding nothing. She then 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.

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