Terror in Rowcroft Close: Court hears of gun threats

‘Do you want to die?’ victims allegedly asked.

A jury at Exeter Crown Court has heard how a family from Honiton was threatened in their own home by two masked men wielding guns.

Max Michael Wilson, 24, of no fixed address, has denied charges that on January 9, 2011, he committed an aggravated burglary at a house in Rowcroft Close and was also in possession of a handgun.

But the trial is being held in the defendant’s absence.

QC Jonathan Barnes, prosecuting, told the court that during the early evening two masked men entered the home of David and Jennifer Taylor, which they shared with their two adult sons.

Mrs Taylor was sitting with her son Gary at the kitchen table watching Antiques Road Show while Mr Taylor had fallen asleep after watching a football match in the lounge.

The court heard, it was around 6.45pm when they spotted two men wearing balaclavas carrying what was thought to be guns.

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Both Mrs Taylor and her son said they recalled hearing the men say: “Where is the money?”

Gary Taylor said he jumped up from his seat and tried pushing the men away from his mother but was punched in the nose, knocking him back into a chair.

He says he stood up again and was hit in the face with the handgun.

The court heard that the men continued to threaten them with the guns, telling them to get down on the floor.

Gary Taylor was then hit again and heard the men say “You are going to die”. A gun was held to his head.

One of the men then went upstairs.

The victims recalled hearing one of the men say: “I have got a knife, do you want to die?”

The court heard that Gary tried to fight back and grabbed the man by the neck pushing him back and pulled off his balaclava. He said: “He was stabbing me over and over again.” Gary Taylor described a man shouting “Go! Go!” and chasing him through the kitchen and garage.

When he returned to the house he carried out a search but both men had disappeared. He recalled that his parents’ room had been searched. He described one of the men as being white, with a strong Bristolian accent, dark eye brows and a funny shaped nose with a lump on it.

While the other was shorter and had more of a rounded face, but had no accent.

Both Mrs and Gary Taylor believed the men were in their 20s and were wearing dark clothing and backpacks.

During the incident, Gary suffered multiple puncture wounds and had to have one wound stitched up. His mother was also taken to hospital. Mr Barnes said it was unclear what weapon was used.

Gaffa tape was also found at the scene and a ladder was found propped up against the wall by a window, which David Taylor told the court was usually stored in the garage.

Mr Barnes alleged a recovered balaclava was taken for DNA testing and a partial profile was found matching the defendant and hairs were also found to match Wilson. However, DNA evidence was strongly contested on the second day of the trial (report to follow).

Prior to the incident, David Taylor had sold his Ford Focus for �5,900 in cash after a woman had replied to an advert.

The sale was completed on the Saturday afternoon and the money was handed over in two envelopes in a pink Superdrug bag.

Mr Taylor told the court that he fell asleep shortly after the football finished and remembered his wife screaming: “We have two men in the house with guns and knifes.”

He described her as being in an “hysterical state”.

When Wilson was interviewed he denied his involvement and gave a written document to his solicitor stating: “I would like to say I had nothing to do with this incident in January in Honiton. I just want it to be known I used to regularly go shooting.”

It also said Wilson had shooting equipment, including two air rifles and a number of different balaclavas and army style clothes and boots.

The trial continues.

Revisit this website for updates.

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