Jail for thugs who left student so scared that he abandoned Hartlepool and quit college course

Teesside Crown Court
Teesside Crown Court

TWO thugs who carried out an armed raid on a student’s flat have been jailed.

The victim was so scared that he abandoned his home in Hartlepool and quit his college course, Teesside Crown Court was told.

The man was in the flat alone on the phone to his girlfriend when he answered the door.

Prosecutor Amanda Rippon said he was confronted by stranger Ronald Stead, 35, who pushed him backwards, knocking the phone to the floor shouting: “Where’s the money and the drugs?”.

The student told him he did not have any drugs, while Stead was carrying a brown plastic bottle with a dropper which he feared contained harmful liquid, possibly ammonia.

Stead was joined by a second man, David Lloyd, 39, who had a kitchen knife with a 3ins or 4ins blade, and Stead repeated: “Where’s the money and the drugs?”.

The student said he did not know what they were talking about.

Lloyd picked up a laptop which belonged to the student’s mother, despite their victim’s pleas.

Miss Rippon said they asked him where the bath was, and he feared that he was going to be put into the bath and tortured.

They left the flat, in Turnbull Street, Hartlepool, with his phone after searching a bedroom, and he followed them asking for it back.

Miss Rippon added: “The incident had a devastating effect on the student, and he had to leave his home and move away from the area.”

Stead and Lloyd both had convictions for violence, including robbery, and they were in breach of community orders for previous offences.

Ian Mullarkey, mitigating for Stead, said he had been described as a model prisoner who had been tackling his drug problems.

He appreciated the impact his imprisonment was having on his three sons, and his partner had told him in stark terms that she would not tolerate any further offending by him.

Martin Scarborough, mitigating for Lloyd, said he now had insight into how frightening the ordeal had been.

Judge Les Spittle told the pair he was limited to a three-year maximum jail sentence, adding: “This is as serious as it gets.

“You went to somebody’s house who did not know you, and you were threatening and you were armed.

“Your behaviour has shattered the life of your victim, losing his home and his college course.”

Lloyd and Stead, both of Allerton Road, Hartlepool, were each jailed for 30 months after they pleaded guilty to affray on March 17. A charge of aggravated burglary, which they denied, was left on the court file.