Leeds teenager armed with two huge knives threatened to torch family home and kill everyone inside

A Leeds teenager armed with two huge knives threatened to set fire to a family's home and kill everyone inside after getting into a dispute with their 15-year-old son.

By Georgina Morris
Saturday, 7th May 2022, 4:45 am

Caleb Awe had his hood pulled up and was wearing a ghost mask and gloves when he turned up at the property with a similarly dressed accomplice on September 15 last year, Leeds Crown Court heard.

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CCTV and doorbell camera footage showed Awe leading the way as the pair arrived outside the house at around 4.30pm, prompting the boy and his dad to come outside.

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Footage showing Caleb Awe brandishing two huge knives and threatening the family was played to Leeds Crown Court. Picture: James Hardisty

As the confrontation escalated, Awe brandished the knives and told the man: "I'll set your house on fire. I'll kill your son, I'll kill everyone."

Prosecutor Eleanor Fry said Awe - then 18 - was "intent on serious criminality" when he arrived and had dressed in a way that was designed to hide his identity from police.

She said the family were terrified about what might happen next but ultimately nobody had been injured during the incident.

Leeds Crown Court heard it was still not entirely clear what prompted the dispute with a 15-year-old boy, but he was described during proceedings as a former friend.

Ms Fry said the dad had feared that he would end up having to bury another son as the chaotic scenes unfolded.

In a victim impact statement read out to the court, he spoke about the strain put on the entire family and how the stress had resulted in his wife being hospitalised.

He said he did not believe Awe was a bad person but had got mixed up in "stupidity" and issues that could have been resolved differently.

The victim's mum said it had left her feeling weak, vulnerable and unable to sleep, leading her to lose her job and require hospital treatment for an infection.

She said her younger son had become a prisoner in his own home due to fears of reprisals aimed at his family, while her 15-year-old son had been forced to give up on a promising professional rugby career due to the resulting mental health issues.

Her statement made reference to the boy having been branded a snitch and social media posts which claimed he was gay.

She added that she could not imagine what it had been like for Awe's family, especially his mum, as it had been "hell" for her own family.

Awe, 19, of Miles Hill Grove, Leeds, had initially denied affray but changed his plea on the second day of his trial.

Glenn Parsons, mitigating, said his client had handed himself into the police and the severity of his actions had been brought home by the fact that he had been in detention ever since.

Mr Parsons said: "He is otherwise a gifted student. He's also a gifted sportsman, footballer and athlete; someone who should be looking forward to a bright future."

He said Awe had brought "great shame and anguish" to his family after becoming involved in "posturing and threats" and the family planned to move away once any sentence had been served so they could all have a fresh start.

The judge, Mr Justice Richard Jacobs, said he thought the time spent behind bars was likely to have brought Awe to his senses to some extent.

He said it was regretful that Awe still seemed to place some of the blame on his victims and urged him to reconsider.

Warning that his behaviour must now be "exemplary", he sentenced Awe to two years in prison, suspended for two years, with a requirement to complete 30 rehabilitation activity days.

A restraining order and exclusion order that had already been put in place will continue.