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Belfast men are jailed for gun raid on home of bank official

By Ashleigh McDonald

Published 28/11/2015

Two Belfast men who threatened a bank worker in his home while armed with an imitation weapon have been jailed
Two Belfast men who threatened a bank worker in his home while armed with an imitation weapon have been jailed

Two Belfast men who threatened a bank worker in his home while armed with an imitation weapon have been jailed.

In a pre-planned raid, Anthony John Davidson (25) and 46-year old Hugh Martin Jude Kelly forced their way into the man's house on March 14 last year by first posing as water workers then producing the imitation gun.

They claimed to be "volunteers", threatened to shoot the man six times an demanded that his children - then aged 22 and 17 - be brought downstairs, before taking their mobile phones from them.

Kelly also told the worker he would be "executed" and warned him that his son was of an age "where he can be shot too".

Despite the raiders, the occupants of the house managed to raise the alarm, after which police responded rapidly.

As officers arrived at the scene, they saw the two intruders exiting the property via a patio, one of whom looked to be carrying a gun.

A chase ensued and the imitation weapon, which was designed to resemble a Beretta, was later discovered in a garden.

Davidson and Kelly were both arrested, and both men refused to answer police questions during interviews. However, they each subsequently pleaded guilty to three offences - possessing an imitation firearm with intent to cause fear of violence, threatening to kill the bank official and threatening to kill his son.

During a previous hearing earlier this week, prosecuting barrister Robin Steer said the men had described themselves as volunteers in a deliberate attempt to "create real fear" in the family by suggesting they were linked to a paramilitary organisation.

Defence barrister Frank O'Donoghoe QC, representing Davidson, branded the incident "nasty and unsavoury", adding the father-of-two wanted to apologise.

Richard Green QC, the barrister for Kelly, spoke of his client's long work history and said the incident was "wholly out of character".

But passing sentence at Belfast Crown Court, judge Gordon Kerr QC said that while he accepted no one was physically injured during the incident, threats were issued by people brandishing what looked to be a real gun and who claimed to be volunteers.

Davidson, from Ladbrook Drive in the city, was handed a four-year sentence, half of which he will spend in custody, and the other half on supervised release.

Kelly, from Carlisle Road, was given a three-and-half-year term, half of it in prison and the remainder on licence.

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