An armed robber who was part of a gang that battered their way into a couple’s countryside home and stole their car has been jailed for a total of six years.
The Audi belonging to Robert Nguiguti and his wife, a doctor, was stolen along with keys to a BMW motorbike, a handbag containing £100 and bank cards, and a laptop containing private patient files and an iPod during the break-in.
Levi Wilson, aged 19, of Dudley, owned one of two imitation guns taken to the scene and used to threaten the couple during the break-in at their home near Bridgnorth.
At Stafford Crown Court, Recorder Miss Sally Hancox paid tribute to Mr Nguiguti who acted 'with commendable bravery' in seeking to protect his family and home by confronting the gang and trying to prevent their getaway.
He fled to the safety of his house only when threatened with a gun.
Miss Hancox said: "This was not cowardice, this was a reaction to a clear and present threat."
Wilson, of Cross Lane, was found guilty of robbery, burglary and two counts of possession of an offensive weapon following a trial in March.
He was jailed for three years for burglary, four years for robbery- to run concurrently- and two years for the firearms charge, to run consecutively.
Wilson’s accomplice Simone O’Neil, aged 22, of Marshall Road, in Portobello, Willenhall, was sentenced to 18 months for burglary. She had acted as getaway driver, transporting the gang to and from the isolated cottage in the village of Quatt.
Stafford Crown Court heard that she was a qualified nursery nurse who had been training to become a dental nurse at the time of the offences on July 15 last year. A probation report described her as hard-working but naive.
During the five-week trial, Mr Nguiguti told the jury that he and his wife Dr Durrenjaf Siddique were left scarred by the break-in and now found it hard to think of the house as their home. They had since spent thousands of pounds on security measures.
The couple were asleep when they were disturbed by the sound of a smash.
Mr Nguiguti then heard a noise in the lounge and ran downstairs to find someone escaping through a broken glass panel in the door.
He gave chase outside and tried to close the gates on the burglar who had jumped into the Audi until he yelled that he had a gun and leaned across as if to fetch it.
An imitation pump-action shotgun and a BB gun were later found in the boot of O'Neil's car.
Gang members were tracked down after police were alerted by a passing motorist who was suspicious seeing O'Neil sitting in the deserted lane with a scarf covering the lower part of her face.
Three other defendants Nicholas Alexander, aged 26, of Chorley Gardens, Bilston; Donovan Wilson, aged 18, of Cross Lane, Dudley; and Omari Maitland, aged 18, of Leslie Road, Park Village, Wolverhampton, were cleared of all four offences.
All five had denied the charges.