Thugs who attacked Leeds family in own home had targeted wrong address

Two men who burst into a Leeds family's home and attacked them after  targeting the wrong address have been jailed for a total of 17 years.

Sunday, 23rd May 2021, 4:45 am
Updated Sunday, 23rd May 2021, 9:55 am

Nicholas Flaherty and Alistair Lawson and two other men were armed with a wooden pole when they went to the house in Kirkstall, Leeds Crown Court was told.

The mother had been setting the table for dinner with her two daughters, aged 12 and 14, when she was confronted by the men on July 30 last year.

The woman was punched in the face and knocked to the floor before the men began to smash up the house, throwing around crockery and glasses from the dinner table.

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Nicholas Flaherty

The 12-year-old girl was struck on the head causing a wound which later needed to be glued at hospital.

The husband and a friend, who had been in the garden, ran back into the house while objects were still being thrown.

The friend suffered a deep wound to his hand as he shielded his face.

Alistair Lawson

They chased the intruders out of the front door where one of the suspects threatened them with a knife.

The men managed to slam the door and barricade it.

The offenders then threw a chair through the kitchen window before leaving.

Flaherty, aged 34, of Prospect Street, Farsley, and 26-year-old Lawson, of Rodley Lane, Rodley, both admitted burglary with intent to commit grievous bodily harm.

Flaherty was jailed for nine-and-a-half years and Lawson was jailed for seven-and-a-half years.

The pair had been due to stand trial at Leeds Crown Court but entered guilty pleas ahead of the trial.

Officers from Leeds District Crime Team launched an investigation into the incident.

Information from the public suggested the suspects had attacked another address in Kirkstall immediately before targeting the family’s home and CCTV was recovered.

The CCTV showed the four suspects and a vehicle, which was later identified as a result of an extensive CCTV trawl.

The car was registered to Flaherty who was recognisable in the CCTV.

Arrest enquiries were carried out resulting in him handing himself in at police headquarters in Elland Road.

He denied the offence but was positively identified by the victim and charged to appear at court.

Lawson was also identified from CCTV enquiries that showed the suspects getting into a second car.

He had been stopped by police days earlier driving that vehicle.

He was later arrested and charged.

It is believed the suspects had targeted the wrong address following a dispute with other people.

Detective Inspector Vicky Vessey, of Leeds District Crime Team, said: “These two put this completely innocent family, including their young children and a family friend, through an absolutely terrifying ordeal when they burst into their home and attacked them.

“It transpired they were at the wrong address as part of a dispute with others and were seeking violent retribution.

“We always treat offences of this nature very seriously and conducted a detailed and comprehensive investigation which identified these two men and built up evidence that left them no option but to plead guilty at court.

“We hope the very significant sentences they have received will help to provide some comfort to the victims, who have shown a great deal of fortitude throughout this very difficult and trying episode in their lives.”