A HEAVILY pregnant woman was held up at knifepoint by a masked robber who threatened to slit her family’s throats during a terrifying raid on her Sheffield home.
Steven Foster found his wife Clare and two children being threatened by an armed intruder in the kitchen of their home in Mortomley Close, High Green, after answering their cries for help.
The man, who was holding a knife, vowed to slit the family’s throats if they moved, while two other intruders raided the upstairs of the property, a court heard.
Another man, armed with a knife and crowbar, is said to have then swapped places with the first robber, while a third made demands for cash.
Four television sets, two mobile phones, jewellery worth £2,100 and Xbox games were stolen from the family’s home, along with keys to their Hyundai car and a £12,000 van.
Michael Smith, prosecuting, said: “The Fosters felt sick after the break-in. They had never been so scared in their lives.”
Details of the robbery – revealed as Matthew Fothergill, aged 31, appeared at Sheffield Crown Court charged with handling stolen goods – sent shockwaves through the close-knit community today.
Claire Long, 20, of nearby Mortomley Lane, said: “I find it shocking that something like that happened so close. A lot of people know each other in this area.”
Jason Steadman, 41, who has lived in High Green all his life, said: “You don’t think it’s a bad area compared to other places, but this just shows nothing is ever 100 per cent.”
Amernath Yarlagadda, 32, who moved to High Green last August, said: “People are very friendly here but crimes like these threaten community spirit.”
Fothergill was found four hours after the robbery at 12.30am at Oaks Fold Road, Shiregreen, slumped across the front seat of the stolen van with the items taken in the burglary in the back.
He gave a positive reading for alcohol and told police he could not remember where he got the property.
Fothergill, of Sycamore Road, Ecclesfield, admitted handling stolen goods on November 25 last year and drink-driving. He was jailed for three years and banned from driving for two years.
He admitted a further handling offence involving a £20,000 stolen rented Renault van which was found on September 13 with its number plates, chassis number and tax disc altered after it was taken from an address on Walkley Lane.
The court heard he had several previous convictions for dangerous driving, handling stolen goods and supplying Class A drugs.
Judge Roger Keen QC told Fothergill: “Three masked men forced their way into a house at night, armed, and committed the equivalent of an armed robbery during a domestic burglary.
“Within four hours some of the property was in your possession in a vehicle close to the offences committed.”