Violent Leeds robbery gang members who attacked woman caught by brave off-duty police officer shopping at Asda

Three robbers who put a woman through a terrifying ordeal when they raided her home in Leeds have been jailed for a total of 52 years.

Thursday, 14th May 2020, 11:35 am

The trio also fled the dock at Leeds Crown Court after being found guilty at their trial but were rounded up within half an hour of their escape by officers who chased and

detained them up to two miles away.

The court had heard how professional criminals Jordan Eggett, Thomas Dent and Thomas Stewart targeted a woman’s home in Gildersome one afternoon in September last year.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

A judge said Jordan Eggett played the leading role in the robbery. He was given an extended sentence totalling 18-and-half years.

They broke open a wooden gate to the back garden and entered through a rear door before brandishing a knife and demanding the keys to an Audi SQ5 and Mini Countryman that were parked on the driveway.

They forced her to lie on the floor and put a blanket over her head and made threats kill her if she contacted police.

The victim's dog was also attacked during the raid.

They stole items of jewellery from the house and drove off in both cars.

Thomas Dent was given an extended sentence of 18-and-a-half years.

The court heard the woman thought she was going to be killed during the attack.

She ran from her home in her bare feet screaming for help after the ordeal

Checks on CCTV in the area showed the offenders arriving in a blue Seat Leon Cupra which then drove off in convoy with the other two cars.

It was established the Seat was on cloned plates having been stolen in a similar robbery in Gildersome three days earlier where a couple were confronted in their kitchen by two men.

Thomas Stewart was sentenced to 15 years.

The male victim was put in a headlock and dragged to the floor. His face was covered with a tea towel as they demanded the keys to the car.

Cash and mobile phones were also stolen.

The Audi and Mini were recovered in Batley and Birstall the same day after members of the public reported men acting suspiciously.

A car believed to be the stolen blue Seat Leon was also seen being used by the men at the time.

The offenders were brought to justice thanks to the bravery of an off-duty police office

PC Neil Masheder, of Leeds District Crime Team, was shopping at the Asda supermarket in Morley that evening when he spotted the Seat with two passengers

parked in a disabled bay.

He recognised it as having been involved in the incident earlier that day and called colleagues for assistance and kept the car under observation.

He saw Dent return from the supermarket to the driver’s seat of the car, and despite having no protective equipment, moved in to detain him.

The two passengers, Eggett and Stewart, ran off but were pursued by officers and a police dog and quickly detained nearby.

Phones, gloves, and other incriminating items, including Velcro patches used to mount false number plates, were recovered at the scene.

A Longines watch stolen in the later burglary was found with Dent in the police custody area.

Stewart was also found with Thai currency taken in the incident that he was seen on CCTV hiding under a mattress in a holding cell.

Further enquiries linked all three men to the later incident and they were charged to appear at court.

Dent was also charged with the robbery where the Seat was taken.

The three were convicted at the conclusion of a nine-day trial at Leeds Crown Court in March this year but jumped the dock and escaped from the court building.

They were pursued by officers who had been at court, including PC Masheder, and all were quickly detained, with two of them having fled two miles away to the Hyde Park area.

The third defendant was arrested in a pub in Leeds city centre.

All three were charged with escaping lawful custody.

Eggett, 27, of Ouzlewell Road, Thornhill Lees, Dewsbury, was convicted of robbery, two offences of theft and escape. He was given an extended sentence of 18-and-a-half years after Judge Andrew Stubbs QC said he he was the leader of the robbery gang and considered him to pose a serious risk to the public

Dent, aged 30, of Standale Crescent, Pudsey, was also given an extended sentence of 18-and-a-half years after being convicted of two counts of robbery, three of theft and escape.

Stewart, aged 29, of Queenshill Avenue, Moortown, was convicted of robbery, two counts of theft, escape and two further burglaries committed at properties in Leeds and Ilkley. He was jailed for 15 years.

Detective Inspector Vicky Vessey, of Leeds District Crime Team, said: “These three are prolific offenders who give absolutely no thought to the frightening and traumatic

impact that their criminal activities have on others.

“The victims in these incidents were confronted in their homes and put through really terrifying ordeals solely to steal their cars and other valuables.

“We hope the significant sentences they have received will provide some level of comfort to the victims in this case and also to the wider community who are now that little bit safer with these men behind bars.

“They were brought to justice through dedicated police work, not least by PC Masheder whose courageous actions while off duty clearly demonstrate the round-the-clock commitment that Leeds District Crime Team officers give to targeting offenders and keeping our communities safe.”