Masked raider caught out

An armed raider who terrorised a heavily-pregnant woman and her partner in their own home was tracked down thanks to an eagle-eyed resident.

Tuesday, 5th June 2018, 6:20 pm
Updated Tuesday, 19th June 2018, 6:06 pm
A still from the CCTV at the home of Christopher North and Kristie Sleigh, captured at the time of the raid

Two masked men burst into the home of Kristie Sleigh and Christopher North, in Leigh Road, Hindley Green, wielding axes, and were captured on CCTV, Bolton Crown Court was told.

Paul Benson, and an unknown accomplice, fled with around £4,000, which Mr North used a float for his building business, as well as an expensive Omega gent’s watch, the court heard.

Prosecutor Helen Longworth said the next day householder Kevin Blake spotted the remains of a mobile phone, which had been snapped in half, in his garden in Atherton.

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A still from the CCTV at the home of Christopher North and Kristie Sleigh, captured at the time of the raid

Later he also discovered a rucksack, which had also been abandoned, containing some ladies stockings, masks, balaclavas and a neck warmer.

Mr Blake later took the items to Atherton police station, said Miss Longworth, where an officer immediately linked the items to the raid from the day before.

DNA evidence was secured from some of the garments, which proved to be a match to Benson. The clothing was also checked against CCTV footage obtained from the couple’s home, the court heard.

Miss Longworth said that the defendant had been staying with his mother, at a house opposite Mr Blake’s, around the time of the incident.

Arrested by police, he had previously sold on the mobile phone. But checks on the device found it had been used until just before the raid.

He admitted that the mask and neck warmer were his - but insisted he had obtained them before carrying out some unrelated vandalism earlier in the year.

Benson, 35, of Grasmere Avenue, Higher Ince, pleaded guilty to aggravated burglary and was remanded in custody for sentence until Friday.

Judge Richard Gioserano said he wanted to know whether the burglary had a lasting impact on the couple involved and asked prosecutors to obtain fresh victim impact statements before the next hearing.

Earlier this year the Wigan Observer reported how air hostess Kristie and her partner later welcomed son Jude into the world.Detectives said it was fortunate no-one was injured.