Robbers threatened elderly Wakefield widow in her own bed at knifepoint, court is told

A pair or armed robbers burst into the bedroom of a terrified elderly widow while she was asleep and demanded money at knifepoint, a court was told.

Tuesday, 8th June 2021, 4:48 pm

Ryan Gledhill and an unnamed assailant ransacked the lady's Wakefield home, stole cash, bank cards and even her engagement ring from her husband who had passed away just weeks before.

During the 20-minute ordeal, the 71-year-old even had a dog bowl full of water thrown at her by one of the men when she asked for a drink to take medication for a heart condition.

She later said she felt like she "had been raped" in an emotional sense, as she watched the pair rip out drawers and empty cupboards in front of her.

Ryan Gledhill was given nine years' jail.
Ryan Gledhill was given nine years' jail.

Prosecutor Andrew Stranex said that the victim's son was staying with her at her home on Sycamore Copse at the time of the incident, on November 20, last year.

He had left to go to work at around 8.30am, while the victim was still in bed.

She then heard a noise and her bedroom door opened.

She turned over to find two men, wearing socks on their hands, standing over her bed.

One told her: "We have come for the money. We know you have a couple of grand."

Mr Stranex said they threatened her and searched her bedroom, a box room and an airing cupboard.

They went through her jewellery box taking an eternity ring and the engagement ring, took her mobile phone, the bank cards with security numbers, a games console and £180 cash.

They asked her if she had any drugs and she handed them a bag of medication.

It was then that she asked for water for her heart medication so they took her downstairs where the bowl of water was thrown at her.

However, she was then handed a cup of water. They reassured her that she would not be harmed.

But before they left, they ripped the landline phone of the wall and warned her not to call the police, or they would return.

After they left the property and the alarm was raised, CCTV footage was obtained that showed a second man, David Magee, on his own and withdrawing cash from the victim's account at a machine at Morrisons on Dewsbury Road, just minutes after the ordeal.

Ryan Gledhill is then seen approaching the machine and withdrawing cash.

A total of £500 was withdrawn from the victim's account with the two transactions.

Officers were alerted and Magee was arrested and was found to be carrying £360 in new £20 notes. Keys from the victim's property were found in a bin at his house.

Gledhill was also arrested and also found carrying cash.

Both gave 'no comment' interviews with the police, but Gledhill was picked out of a line-up by the victim and his DNA was found on the knife.

Magee was not identified, and no DNA was found.

Magee, 38, of Waterton Road, Lupset, admitted a charge of handling stolen goods. He has 27 previous convictions for 50 offences, including handling stolen goods.

Gledhill, 32, of Fenton Walk, Wakefield, admitted a charge of robbery. He has 12 convictions for 15 offences, including robbery and dwelling burglaries.

A statement from the victim said she was now afraid to be alone and is scared to answer the door.

Referring to the recent loss of her husband, she added: "It could not have happened at a worse time for my family.

"It makes me upset to talk about the incident and I tear up."

Mitigating for both, Kate Bisset said that Gledhill had offered an early guilty plea and accepted the offence was "horrifying".

She said he came from a happy and stable home, but he claimed he was suffering ADHD and would self medicate with drugs.

Little mitigation was offered for Magee.

Judge Andrews Stubbs QC said: "She was petrified. She was threatened and forced to hand over the PIN codes for her cards.

"Her house was ransacked with drawers and cupboards tipped out and thrown over the floor.

"She says she felt like she had been raped. This is the kind of devastation it has on people."

Gledhill was given nine years' jail, and was told he must serve at least six years before being considered for parole.

Magee was given three months' jail.