Jurors terrified as three violent robbers smashed glass and fled Leeds Crown Court

Jurors and court staff were terrified when three violent robbers jumped from a Crown Court dock and ran at them after being found guilty

Thursday, 14th May 2020, 10:52 am

Jordan Eggett, Thomas Dent and Thomas Stewart caused chaos at Leeds Crown Court with a 'synchronised' attempt to escape justice.

The trio leapt from the dock moments after being convicted of a robbery in which they terrified a woman in her own home in Gildersome.

The criminals shattered a glass panel in front of the dock and ran towards the jury as they were being lead out of the courtroom by an usher.

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The three men tried to flee Leeds Crown Court but were handed 54 years in jail

The three defendants barged past the usher and out of the door and managed to escape the building.

They were caught withIn half an hour after police officers in the public gallery chased them from the courthouse on Oxford Row and alerted colleagues.

One was arrested in a nearby pub and the other two were caught less than two miles away in Hyde Park.

Details of the incident, which happened in March this year, were revealed as Eggett, Dent and Stewart were sentence to a total of 54 years in prison.

Christopher Dunn, prosecuting, said: "It happened at a particular time in the proceedings when the jury had returned their verdict and the usher was opening the door to allow them to go their jury retiring room.

“One of the defendants then bolted and ran through the room."

Mr Dunn said the usher was hurt as she was barbed into the door.

The prosecutor said: "Jurors felt concerned for their safety.

"It was a determined, brazen effort to escape the court."

A trial in a neighbouring courtroom was also disrupted as they ran through it to get out of the building.

Describing the escape, Judge Andrew Stubbs QC said: "They would have been terrified having just convicted serious organised criminals.

"As it turns out , you weren't intent on attacking them, but on attacking the justice system by running away."

The court heard all three defendants have lengthy criminal records for serious offences.

Eggett, described in court as the leader of the group of criminals, has convictions dating back to when he was a juvenile and has nine different aliases.

Has was given a six-and-a-half year sentence in 2012 for robbery.

His barrister, Nick Worsley, said Eggett had a difficult upbringing and began committing offences at a young age to provide for his family.

Dent has served prison convictions for wounding with intent, burglary and violent disorder.

Robin Freize, representing Dent, said: “When he comes out he will be be a much older man. He knows it will be a long sentence.”

Stewart has convictions for burglary dating back to when he was a youth.

His barrister, Paul Hodginkson, said a pre-sentence report indicated that Stewart was not “thinking straight” at the time of the robbery