Armed robbers jailed for 30 years for terrifying raid on Norfolk home - but ordeal not over for victims
- Credit: Norfolk Constabulary
A couple who were held at knifepoint inside their home by an armed gang are living in fear that whoever tipped off the robbers is still out there, a court heard.
The male victim was relaxing after work in his house near Norwich on the evening of November 1 last year, when three men burst in and put him and his partner through a terrifying ordeal.
At a sentencing hearing at Norwich Crown Court, prosecutor Duncan O'Donnell said the man was snoozing downstairs when Lithuanians Donatas Luksas, Paulius Malakauskas and Julius Pukys broke in shortly after 8.30pm.
He said two of the men, armed with a hammer and knife, punched him in the face and rugby tackled him to the ground. One shouted 'where is the money?' while they punched him. He threw his wallet at them, but they shouted, 'No, the safe.'
The court heard the man's partner was working in the upstairs office and heard the commotion.
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She thought her partner was playfighting with his son. But when she went downstairs she saw a man with a knife and turned to run.
Mr O'Donnell said that as she got to the upstairs hallway, the third man confronted her. 'He said 'keep calm. I just want your money',' he added.
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Thousands of pounds were in the home as the woman was cashing up their money. The men demanded to know where the money was.
'The men quite clearly had inside information,' said Mr O'Donnell,
The man managed to break free and ran to the bathroom where he locked himself inside. But the robbers threatened to kill his partner if the couple did not tell them where the safe was.
He shouted to her to take them to the safe in the kitchen and told them the combination.
As soon as they had the safe, the three men ran away. The couple called the police immediately and as officers approached the secluded home they saw a man crouching by a Vauxhall Vivaro van. It was Julius Pukys. Officers questioned him and found the two other men in the van.
All three were arrested and the safe was found unopened 100 yards from the van.
Pukys, 25, of Dereham Road, Norwich, was jailed for 12 years at Norwich Crown Court on Tuesday. Luksas, 24, of no fixed abode, Belfast, was jailed for nine years, while Malakauskas, 26, of Avondale Road, Nelson, Lancashire, was also jailed for nine years.
All three pleaded guilty to two counts of robbery. In mitigation, their barristers argued the men were of previous good character and would struggle in jail in a foreign country.
•'Like a bad dream'
In statements read out in court, the victims described how they feared for their lives in the robbery at their home on November 1.
They said they still feel nervous at home now as the robbery was clearly planned.
The man said: 'It is not over for me as I keep asking myself 'who was behind them'?
'I now look at everyone around me with suspicion as they could be that person.'
He added the events of that night were 'like a bad dream'.
'I felt I was fighting for my life and would not live through it,' he added.
The woman said she was now scared of being home alone. 'Someone we know has set this up,' she said.
'If I had not given them the safe, I wouldn't be here now.'
Both thanked the police for their efforts.