A YOUTH who threatened and robbed a couple at a Shrewsbury house in an attempt to recover missing drugs money has been given a custodial sentence.
Jamie Henderson-Jones was among a gang of youths – some of whom were armed – who descended on the property a year ago.
The terrified victims were naked and asleep when the defendant and two other youths burst into their bedroom.
Dominic Evans was punched and threatened with a knife as the room was searched before the intruders stole a mobile phone.
At Shrewsbury Crown Court last week, Henderson-Jones, who will be 18 in three weeks time, was given three-and-a-half years’ detention.
The defendant, who is from Wem, but of no fixed address, was convicted at an earlier trial of robbery, two offences of intimidating witnesses and assault.
One of his accomplices, 18-year-old Jordan Warren, of Fitzalan Road, Shrewsbury, was sentenced to three years at a young offenders’ institution having been found guilty of robbery.
Both defendants were made subject to a restraining order preventing them having any contact with 18-year-old Mr Evans and 17-year-old Aisha Roberts.
Recorder Martin Butterworth said that Henderson-Jones, a college student who had been dealing cannabis, had played a leading role in the series of incidents.
He said the attack at the house had started as blackmail by attempting to demand money with menaces, but had developed into a robbery.
The use of a weapon, the recruiting of other youths, the invasion of the house and the vulnerability of the victims, who were naked and in bed, were all aggravating features.
Recorder Butterworth said Warren, who brandished the knife, had shown no remorse and Henderson-Jones, who was mature beyond his years, had been intent on recovering £500 drugs money.
In impact statements, the two victims said the stress and anxiety had led to the break-up of their relationship and that both felt insecure and feared for their safety, both when they were out and when at home.
During the trial at Stafford Crown Court in February, the jury heard Henderson-Jones was supplying cannabis in Wem, including to Mr Evans, and the two had been friends.
But when £500 in cash, left by the defendant for safe keeping with another man, went missing, Mr Evans was suspected of taking it.
In March last year, when Henderson-Jones was a week away from his 17th birthday, he had attacked Mr Evans outside his home in Wem and kicked him while he was on the ground and demanded he hand over the cash.
The next day Henderson-Jones recruited several other people, including Warren, and the group travelled to Miss Roberts’ parents’ address in York Road, Shrewsbury, knowing Mr Evans was there.
They entered the property through a patio door. Initially Henderson-Jones had punched Mr Evans and demanded the money and had threatened he would be stabbed before Warren held the knife to the victim’s throat and punched him.
The pair stole a mobile phone and a small quantity of cannabis after searching the bedroom.
The court heard Henderson-Jones avoided detection for several weeks and had phoned Miss Roberts saying her boyfriend would be stabbed.
In April there were attempts by Henderson-Jones to intimidate Mr Evans.