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13 YEARS FOR THUG WHO LEFT FAMILY IN LIVING HELL; Court hears of pounds 250k raid by masked gang.

Byline: CHLOE GRIFFITHS

A FAMILY of five suffered "a living nightmare" when a gang of masked men burst into their home, attacked them and tied them up to steal pounds 250,000 worth of jewels.

During their hour-long ordeal, the wealthy businessman, his wife and their three children were all punched and kicked, tied together with duct tape and warned they would be tortured with boiling water and an iron.

The company boss had his ear sliced in two with glass from a frame, which had previously displayed his daughter's degree certificate and was stabbed seven times by the raiders.

Liverpool Crown Court heard his 16-year-old son, who was upstairs when the attackers burst in bravely attempted to rescue his mum and sister by charging the men with a baseball bat. But the gang overpowered the teenager and warned his parents they would take him away and "iron his face" if they did not hand over their valuables.

The gang only fled after plundering Rolex watches, a Rotary watch, engagement rings and wedding rings worth pounds 250,000, as well as pounds 7,000 cash from three safes.

But one of the thugs was caught after his blood was found inside the property. Neil Stockley, 39, was yesterday jailed for 13 years for his role in the horror attack.

Jailing him, Judge Mark Brown said: "On any view this was a well-planned and professionally executed crime during which very significant violence was used upon the family.

"Since the incident they have said their home is no longer a home but a prison and the experience must have been a living nightmare for them."

Judge Brown said it was clear the gang had "some inside knowledge" and had deliberately targeted the upmarket family home in the Calderstones Park area because during the raid they revealed they knew the family had insured jewels at the property for up to pounds 500,000.

Peter Davies, prosecuting, told how the family were at their home, which was surrounded by 8ft walls and had security cameras, at 9.30pm on March 8 when their "peace was savagely disturbed".

After covering the cameras, between six and eight masked men burst in from three different directions.

Despite their attempts to fight back the family were punched and kicked to the floor before being tied up. Hearing their screams, the 16-year-old boy showed "tremendous courage" and bravely attempted to come to their rescue, hitting one man in the face with a baseball bat. But as he tried to help his mum he was set upon by several of the gang.

Once they had all the family together they ordered them to lay face down before dragging the man upstairs and ordering him to open the safe.

Judge Brown said it was clear the family had suffered "very significant psychological harm".

Stockley, of Greenall Court, Prescot, pleaded guilty to robbery.

Ian Harris, defending, said Stockley, who has a previous conviction for robbery, apologised for his behaviour and now recognised the harm he had caused.

CAPTION(S):

CAGED: Neil Stockley, 39, has been locked up for 13 years for his part in a vicious break-in in south Liverpool
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Publication:Liverpool Echo (Liverpool, England)
Date:Jul 12, 2011
Words:528
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