Family held hostage at knifepoint in terrifying home raid

By Liam Keen | West Bromwich | Crime | Published:

A family of eight were held at knifepoint after an armed gang burst into their Black Country home.

The men storm the house. Photo: Zara Downes

A man pretending to be a delivery driver distracted the family before three masked men ran in and knocked a father to the ground.

They forced the rest of the family to the floor while threatening them with knives at around 7pm on Friday.

WATCH the moment the raiders arrive

CCTV captures moment gang ambushes family home

The group searched the home on Wolseley Road, in the Harvills Hawthorn area of West Bromwich.

They demanded cash before leaving with nothing but a landline phone.

Zara Downes, aged 21, was forced to watch as her mother was pushed to the sofa and threatened with a knife while holding Zara's six-week-old baby.

The ordeal lasted around three minutes before the gang fled in their blue van.


Zara said: "We saw a delivery driver pull up but we always have things delivered so we didn't think anything of it.

"My dad thought it was a pizza man and next thing he was pushed back and three men came running in.

A man posing as a delivery driver approaches the house. Photo: Zara Downes

"They came into the living room with knives telling us to get down.


"Two of them ran upstairs straight away but didn't realise I had two brothers up there - they kept screaming "cash" when we asked what they wanted.

"We kept telling them we didn't have any money but we were all pushed to the floor and my mum, who was holding my six-week-old baby, was pushed onto the sofa.

"They put a knife to my mum's throat."

A man who pretended to be the delivery driver had his face uncovered, and Zara said he was recognisable because of his two gold teeth.

"The man who pretended to be the deliver driver was vicious," Zara added.

"He didn't have his face covered so he was telling us to stay on the floor and look away from him, I have no doubt he would have stabbed us.

"I was trying to get up and see my babies but he was threatening us and pushing me back down, he kept doing a stabbing motion with the knife.

"I don't think they realised how many people were in the house and the other two came downstairs and told the others to leave.

"The delivery man stayed in the house and kept waving a knife at us before one of the masked men came back to get him.

"They took the landline phone but nothing else - we had two cars on the drive and all had mobile phones, but they just ran off with the landline.

"My three-year-old son can't sleep and won't leave my side, it's really affected him.

"Luckily no-one was hurt, but I don't think they would have hesitated to do something."

The men fleeing the house. Photo: Zara Downes

The family are now urging anyone with information or CCTV footage to come forward and notify police.

Zara said: "We looked at our cameras and they were circling our house all day in the van.

"If anyone recognises the van or the men, any information will help.

"They must have gone to a petrol station or a shop, someone will have seen them, the van and their clothes were quite recognisable."

West Midlands Police has confirmed it is investigating the incident.

Anyone with information contact the force on 101 quoting crime reference number 20SW/189571B/19.

Liam Keen

By Liam Keen
Sports Reporter

Sports journalist at the Express & Star, primarily covering Walsall FC and grassroots sport across the Black Country and Staffordshire. Got a story? Get in touch on 01902 319456.

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