Burglar held gun to residents' heads during "terrifying" break-in

A violent burglar who burst into a home and held a gun to the heads of the occupants has been handed a lengthy jail term.

By Nick Frame
Wednesday, 6th July 2022, 7:00 am

Jamie Lee Smith was give 13-years-and-one month and was told by a judge at Leeds Crown Court he must serve at least two-thirds before being eligible for parole.

The court was told that Smith, 27, went on a "spree of serious offences" last year, starting in the early hours of May 11 when he and an accomplice targeted a man returning from work.

Prosecutor Stephen Littlewood said the man put the key in the door of his home on Burton Street, South Elmsall, at 1.15am when Smith and the unnamed assailant approached him from behind and asked him for a cigarette.

Smith was handed the lengthy sentence after the burglary on Burton Street.

They then asked him if the car parked outside was his, to which he said it was a neighbour's.

Smith then pulled out an imitation firearm and held it to the man's head while the other man rifled through his pockets.

A struggle then ensued and the man ran off. They briefly chased him before they returned to the house, let themselves in and began attacking a man who was asleep on the sofa.

They beat him so badly he fell unconscious, before a woman asleep upstairs appeared after being woken by the altercation.

Furnisse was given 40 months' jail for his part in the Ferrybridge Services robbery.

The intruders kept making references to the car outside, and when they saw the woman, Smith pointed the gun at her head as the other man elbowed her.

The pair then fled, stealing a wallet and two mobile phones.

Smith was spotted by police around 40 minutes later on Barnsley Road. The victims could not identify him, but told police he had a limp, which matched his description.

The gun was found in a bush nearby which contained Smith's DNA.

Smith made no comment during interview, but a statement was prepared in which he denied any involvement. He was later released under investigation.

On 16 November, Smith and 29-year-old Ryan Mark Furnisse, were spotted on CCTV at Ferrybridge Services looking at vehicles in the car park.

At around 4pm a rider on a Honda was leaving the services when Smith and Furnisse jumped out of a bush and tried to hit him with a metal bar before wrestling the £7,500 bike from him and riding off.

However, it was fitted with a tracker and later recovered.

Again Smith made no comment in interview.

Smith, of St Botolph's Close, Knottingley, eventually admitted aggravated burglary, attempted robbery and possession of an imitation firearm from the South Elmsall incident, and robbery of the motorbike. He also admitted criminal damage from another incident in which he threw a brick through someone's window on October 28 last year.

Furnisse, of Sycamore Close, Knottingley, admitted robbery of the motorbike.

Mitigating for Furnisse, who has 27 convictions for 52 offences, Michael Walsh said he was "in the process of maturing in terms of taking responsibility".

Smith also has a long history of offending, with 23 convictions for 66 offences, including burglaries, for which he has received previous jail terms.

Mitigating for Smith, James Littlehales said: "He accepts he faces a substantial custodial sentence.

"He started to take crack cocaine that clearly affected his ability to appreciate what he was doing. He accepts how serious his offending behaviour was."

But a probation report suggested Smith still fails to take responsibility and blames others.

Referring to the South Elmsall incident, Judge Robin Mairs described it as "truly terrifying", and added: "This was a protracted period of violence."

Smith was handed nine years for that incident, and four-years-and-one-month for the motorbike theft, to run consecutively.

He was also given a indefinite-length restraining order for the criminal damage offence.

Furnisse was given 40 months' jail for his part in the motorbike robbery.