Burglary gang jailed for 53 years after ‘terrifying’ raid on Upminster family home in which boy, 11, was shot

The gang, clad in balaclavas, threatened to kill the family’s son and held a knife to the throat of his mother during the horrifying burglary.

Three armed thugs have been jailed for a terrifying raid on a family home, during which an 11-year-old boy suffered a potentially fatal gunshot wound.

The gang, clad in balaclavas, threatened to kill the family’s son and held a knife to the throat of his mother during the horrifying burglary.

After an “outstanding” police investigation, the three thugs have been jailed for a total of 53 years.

One of the gang posed as a delivery driver before they burst into the house in Kerry Drive, Upminster, Havering, during the first Covid lockdown.

The boy suffered an horrific 15 centimetre by 15 centimetre wound to his shoulder when his dad’s shotgun went off as he wrestled with one of the intruders.

The start of the police investigation in Upminster. Credit: SWNS

The dad, in his 40s, suffered a knife wound to his head while the boy’s mum was dragged upstairs and suffered a cut to her throat when one of the gang threatened her with a knife as he demanded to know where the safe was.

One of the gang, Christopher Sargent, appeared to hold his head in his hands and sob when he heard the extent of the boy’s injuries during his first court appearance.

Sargent had posed as a courier before the others burst into the house on the night of May 1, 2020.

The mum and boy had knives held to their throats as the gang demanded that the dad reveal where the safe was.

Christopher Sargent, 28, of Macaulay Road, East Ham, pleaded guilty to robbery and was sentenced to 15 years, with an extended licence period of five years.

Claire Hebden, prosecuting, told an earlier court hearing: “She received a cut to her throat when the knife was held to her.

“They said they didn’t have any money or a safe, and they offered jewellery. A knife was put to the son’s throat.

“[The father] was told his son will be killed if he didn’t show him where the safe was.

“[The father] was struggling with the courier.

“He believed he was knocked out and doesn’t remember what happened properly. Blood was running down his face. He noticed one of the shotguns on the floor.

“[The father] has a gun license and the shotguns are usually locked in a safe. He’s a member of a gun club.

“He states he only picked the gun up because he feared for his life. He and a man began fighting over the gun.

“His 11-year-old son rushed forward, and the gun was discharged. He says the other man had his finger on the trigger.

“He noticed blood on his son, he went pale, and understood he was shot.”

Anthony Lascelles, 34, of Hitchin Close, Harold Hill, was sentenced to 18 years with an extended licence period of five years. He had previously pleaded guilty to the robbery.

The boy was placed in an induced coma, but has since recovered.

The gang fled with £20,000 worth of jewellery and watches.

But detectives quickly established that the man who came to the door posing as delivery driver before leaving a parcel on the doorstep was Sargent.

As the dad bent down to pick up the parcel, he was knocked to the ground by the rest of the gang who stormed inside,

Detectives from the Met’s Specialist Crime Command began enquiries to trace the men, including a review of number plate and mobile phone data from the area.

They also recovered doorbell footage of the suspects who were later arrested and charged.

Ajaypal Singh, 28, of Ilford, was jailed for 20 years. Credit: Met Police

Anthony Lascelles, 34, Harold Hill, Havering, was sentenced to 18 years in jail with an extended licence period of five years when he appeared at Snaresbrook Crown Court on Friday. He had previously pleaded guilty to robbery.

Sargent, 28, of East Ham, Newham, pleaded guilty to robbery and was sentenced to 15 years, with an extended licence period of five years, last November.

Ajaypal Singh, 28, of Ilford, Redbridge, was found guilty of robbery following a trial last November.

He had pleaded guilty to possession with intent to supply and possession of a bladed article.

He was sentenced to a total of 20 years behind bars, with an extended licence period of five years.

In her sentencing remarks, Judge Patricia Lees commended Det Con Darren Warner for his “intelligent, honest and reasonable” approach to the investigation.

She added: “It is clear to me that he is an outstanding officer of whom the Metropolitan Police Service should be proud.”

Det Con Warner said: “This result is the conclusion of a complex investigation into a serious and violent crime that had a significant impact on the local community. It also left a family, including a young child, terrified.

“They will never be able to forget what happened to them that night.”

He added: “I am grateful to the members of the public who came forward to assist the investigation.

“In the Metropolitan Police we know that we are most effective when we police with the support of the public, working together to tackle those causing the most harm.”