Baseball bat-wielding robber who attacked family in their home is jailed for eight years

JAILED ... Michael Luke received an eight-year sentence.
JAILED ... Michael Luke received an eight-year sentence.

A SOUTH Tyneside man has been jailed for eight years after a terrifying baseball bat attack on a grandfather and his daughter.

Michael Luke and an accomplice, who were both wearing paintball masks, demanded cash from the family and left their victims in need of hospital treatment.

The family, including a young child who was being fed by his grandmother in the kitchen, had been at their home in Gateshead when the armed pair walked in.

Former South Tyneside Council worker Luke, of Calf Close Drive, Jarrow, lashed out with his weapon at horrified James Mooney and then turned his violence on his daughter Hayley when she stepped up to try to stop the attack.

The horrified victims, who were squirted with liquid during the ordeal, suffered cuts to their head which needed treatment in hospital.

Newcastle Crown Court heard yesterday that within minutes of walking out of the family home empty-handed, Luke attacked a man in the street with the bat while demanding cash.

Yesterday, the 23-year-old was jailed for eight years after admitting two charges of attempted robbery.

Judge James Goss QC told him: “Having masked yourselves and armed yourselves with weapons, the father and his daughter were then threatened and attacked in their home.

“It was obviously a frightening episode that caused considerable anxiety.”

The court heard the family had been at home on February 9 when the masked men walked in through the back door.

Stuart Graham, prosecuting, told the court that, after walking past Margaret Mooney as she fed her grandchild, the pair headed straight to her husband James.

He said: “He was confronted by this defendant. Next thing he knew were blows to the left side of his head, causing him to stumble.

“Liquid was thrown in his face and the defendant was shouting ‘where’s the money, get the money now.’

“His daughter intervened. The defendant began swinging the bat, hitting her, mainly to the head, she says about six times.”

The court heard the daughter was sprayed with liquid before the men walked out.

Mr Graham said: “The victim stated if it wasn’t for his daughter, he felt he could have been killed.”

The court heard Miss Mooney needed a month off work after her ordeal.

The accomplice, who was armed with a hammer, has never been caught.

Mr Graham said it was within “five minutes” Luke targeted his second victim – “literally just around the corner”, but again failed to get any cash.

Rachel Hedworth, defending, said Luke, who has previous convictions, had made efforts to stay out of trouble and be a proper father to his family before the attack.

Miss Hedworth added: “There is absolutely nothing I can say on his behalf that can go anywhere near justifying his actions, he does not ask me to do so.

“He asks me to convey his complete remorse in respect of his behaviour that day. He deeply regrets what took place.”

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