Terrifying armed robbers traumatised family after they were held at gunpoint
A terrified mother has told how armed robbers who held her family at gunpoint ruined her life and left her husband and children traumatised.
Luke John Bonsall and William John Proctor, both aged 37, entered Andrew and Lorraine Eales’s home on Stubley Lane, Dronfield, with a shotgun and knocked out Mr Eales and threatened to shoot one of the couple’s children.
Derby Crown Court heard on Friday how Mr Eales struggled to come to terms with the ordeal and resorted to alcohol before the break-up of his marriage and his death in January.
Prosecuting solicitor Thomas Jones said: “Mrs Eales describes a terrifying experience making her feel scared in her own home and effectively ruining her life after it had a massive impact on her children.
“She lost a considerable amount of weight and there was the break-up of her marriage. The implementation of CCTV was not enough to reassure her. She didn’t feel safe going out in the dark and said the incident had torn her family apart and the children became withdrawn.”
The court heard how Bonsall and Proctor entered the property in masks and held the family hostage, including Mr and Mrs Eales and their adult daughter, their two boys and their seven-year-old daughter.
Judge Peter Cooke said the seven-year-old daughter ran upstairs but was dragged back down and the family’s 11-year-old son had a gun pointed at his head and was told by one of the offenders if he moved he would “put one in him”.
The robbers used cable ties to restrain the family and Mr Eales was struck around the head and knocked unconscious, according to Judge Cooke. He explained the robbers fled with about £7,000 after the family had been forced to open a safe.
The judge added they would have also stolen two Range Rovers but these vehicles were blocked by a takeaway delivery driver’s car after he had returned with part of an earlier curry order.
Mr Jones revealed how Andrew Eales, who was a taxi service proprietor, had stated that prior to the incident they had been a happy family but the ordeal had turned their lives upside down and he had struggled to deal with being unable to protect his family.
Bonsall, of Bowden Wood Crescent, Sheffield, and Proctor, of Magpie Grove, Sheffield, were found guilty after a trial of conspiracy to commit robbery and conspiring to possess an imitation firearm with intent to commit a robbery following the raid in March, 2015.
The court heard how Bonsall and Proctor have previous convictions and were described by the judge as “career criminals” who had escalated into a “different league”.
Judge Cooke sentenced both defendants to 16 years of custody each.
A third co-accused, Shayne West, 35, of Vikinglea Drive, Sheffield, was previously charged with the same offences but was acquitted after the trial.
Detective Chief Inspector Greg McGill said: “The terror they instilled in their victims is immeasurable and despite the offence happening more than two years ago, it has caused lasting distress for them.”
Judge Peter Cooke commended Derbyshire Police’s Detective Sergeant Steven Warren and Detective Constable Brett Turner for helping to bring a successful conviction.