Gang who raided the home of footballer Demarai Gray while his girlfriend lay n*ked in bed with their baby is sentenced to 85 years in prison


A gang who raided the home of Leicester’s Demarai Gray have been sentenced to a combined 85 years in prison.

Gray’s girlfriend, Emma Hickman, and baby were inside the home at the time of the burglary which was part of a six-month crime spree.

Miss Hickman was confronted by the balaclava-clad intruders – one wielding a machete – while she lay naked on the bed with the couple’s six-week old child, a court hearing heard.

The ordeal left her so terrified she moved out of the address in Worcestershire.

Aaron Jones, 29 and Tyler Greenway, 20 were found guilty of conspiracy to rob following a trial at Birmingham Crown Court.

Jones was also convicted of conspiracy to possess a firearm, report the Birmingham Mail.

The duo had previously admitted conspiracy to burgle and theft.

Nicholas Rothero, 35 and son Cory Rothero, 17 had previously admitted conspiracy to rob, steal and burgle and conspiracy to possess a firearm.

Darren Sadler, 41, had previously pleaded guilty to conspiracy to rob.

Jones was jailed for 27 years, Nicholas Rothero for 24 years and Saddler for four years.

Saddler is already serving a 10 years and eight months sentence for robbery, with his four-year term to run consecutively.

Cory Rothero and Greenway were each sentenced to 15 years in a young offender’s institution.

Michael Duck QC, prosecuting, told Birmingham Crown Court: “The defendants are a group of organised criminals.

“Between October 2018 and April 2019 they committed a series of armed robberies and burglaries at commercial and residential premises.”

The gang are said to have used ‘serious violence’ and stolen cars to ‘get away at the fastest speed possible’ in raids on safes and cashpoints at shops and pubs including a Tesco Express.

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Mr Duck added: “They arrived mob-handed, conspicuously armed with knives, making a lot of noise and terrifying those they encountered.”

Speaking specifically on the attack on Gray’s home, Mr Duck said the premises had been ‘deliberately targeted’.

He added: “The male occupant of the premises was not there that day. He was at work.”

The gang stayed downstairs for a short time before going upstairs where Miss Hickman, 22, was sleeping.

“She was woken from her sleep and greeted by the sight of a man who was obviously masked and carrying a large black knife,” Mr Duck said.

“She was completely trapped and confined with the confines of her bedroom.”

One of the intruders picked up a knife which Gray used to open parcels and envelopes.

Miss Hickman said during the trial that the gang had demanded jewellery and money.

They snatched her Rolex watch and warned her mother would ‘get hurt’ after she had told them she was on her way.

The intruders took the keys to Gray’s Mercedes only to discover it was not on the drive before making off with £24,000-worth of cash and jewellery.

Passing sentence, Judge Richard Bond said: “A feature is the professionalism in the way the offending was carried out. Full disguises were used by the offenders to cause victims to be intimidated when confronted by you.

“Victims were made to feel scared and helpless and on some occasions fearful for their lives. Your professionalism was also demonstrated by the speed of the offences.

“You targeted vulnerable premises. The sophistication of your offending was also demonstrated by the wearing of gloves to ensure that finger prints were not left behind.

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“CCTV shows on several occasions members of staff cowering in terror during the course of robberies.”

On the attack on Gray’s home, he added: “This property was deliberately targeted by you because of who lived there.

“Jones made inquiries on the internet about the person. You believed there would be rich pickings at the property. You were targeting high-value goods.

“Miss Hickman could not have been more vulnerable in her own home.

“She bravely gave evidence and it is difficult to forget the obvious terror she felt when confronted by three masked men in her bedroom.

“She was traumatised by what happened and has moved out of the house.”

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