'Remorseless' gang from Hackney and Stratford held knife to four-year-old's throat as they burgled her family home
PUBLISHED: 18:05 14 January 2019
A remorseless bunch of thugs held a knife to a four-year-old girl's throat as they assaulted her and her seven-year-old brother while their family home was burgled.
The gang of five from Hackney, Stratford and Grays were wearing masks and gloves and armed with weapons including firearms and knives during the incident on September 27 2017 at a house in Saffron Gardens, Horndon-on-the-Hill - described in court as “torture”.
A woman had duct tape put around her arms and across her mouth as she was assaulted, and a man in his 30s was repeatedly assaulted hit round the head with a firearm, struck to his hands and legs with a hammer, and burned on his hands, arms, and shoulder with an iron.
The men ransacked their home causing hundreds of pounds worth of damage and stole money, jewellery and electrical goods.
The victims were then put into their own cars and driven to a field where the men forced them out and drove off, dumping the vehicles elsewhere.
Ayomide Ijelu, 23, and Wesley Williams, 32, both of Lindisfarne Way, Homerton, Mark Bonsu, 25, of Doran Walk, Stratford and Jeremiah Johnson, 27, of Curzon Drive, Grays all pleaded not guilty to robbery and possession of a firearm with intent, but were convicted following a month-long trial at Basildon Crown Court today.
Salih Bulbuller, 22, of Homerton Road, admitted aggravated burglary, robbery and possession of a firearm.
Three of them - Ayomide Ijelu, Johnson and Bulbuller - were part of a gang of five who had assaulted a man in his 70s during an aggravated burglary a week earlier on September 18.
Along with Emmanuel Ijelu, 27, Lindisfarne Way, Homerton, and Barry Douglas, 26, of Homerton Road, they tried to break into a bungalow in Portsea Road, Tilbury, but were disturbed by a man who spotted them from the window of his caravan nearby.
He shouted at them to go away, but the men smashed his glass door, forced their way into his home, and struck him over the head with a metal file leaving him with injuries to his eye and face.
Luckily neighbours who heard the commotion and shouted out, causing the men to run off.
They were all caught following an investigation from the Essex serious organised crime unit and were also found guilty today following a month-long trial at Basildon Crown Court.
All seven men will be sentenced at the same court on Friday.
Investigating officer Det Insp Steve Nelson said: “These men are dangerous and organised, carrying out well planned operations where they terrorised innocent people in their own homes.
“They subjected the victims to brutal attacks, including an ordeal at the address in Horndon-on-the-Hill described in court as torture.
“The six defendants tried to convince the jury they weren’t responsible for these attacks and have shown no remorse at any stage. Investigations such as these are of the utmost seriousness and no stone will be left unturned when seeking to identify those responsible and ensuring they are apprehended and brought to justice.”
He thanked his officers for their “fantastic work and tenacity” to trace the men, secure charges and a successful conviction. He added: “We hope the victims can find some solace in these convictions and can begin to rebuild their lives after such traumatic events. I want to pay tribute to their bravery.”