Knife raider threatened to chop off businessman's hand after conning his way into home

A businessman was attacked in his home and warned his hand would be chopped off after an armed raider conned his way in by posing as a delivery driver.

Businessman Michael Blake who was attacked in his Penshaw home.
Businessman Michael Blake who was attacked in his Penshaw home.

Michael Blake, 70, who ran in a furniture business in South Shields for four decades before it moved to Wallsend, was approached outside his house by a man in a flourescent jacket and asked to take delivery of a parcel for a neighbour.

Newcastle Crown Court heard when Mr Blake agreed and opened the door to his home in Penshaw, Sunderland, he was pushed into the property by the fake worker, who was then joined by two more, masked raiders, and ordered to hand over cash at knifepoint.

Ian Skivington

During the terrifying ordeal, the businessman was hit in the face with the handle of the weapon, which had a 14 inch blade, before the raiders left with almost £20,000 in cash as well as high value vintage watches.

Mr Blake told police: "This unprovoked attack has had a profound impact on my mental health and wellbeing.

"To be held at knifepoint by three men in my own house is an intensely terrifying thing to happen.

"I still have vivid flashbacks to them coming towards me, one with a knife poised ready to cut me.

Lee Donald

"I was told if I didn't co-operate I would be killed. I was told if I spoke to the police they would come back to finish me off."

Mr Blake said he thought about his children and grandchildren during the and feared he may never see them again.

He branded the raiders "dangerous, thoughtless and violent".

Prosecutor Michael Bunch told the court Mr Blake had arrived home on November 26 last year after a day at work and was approached by a man wearing a fluorescent jacket on his driveway.

Thomas Clayton

Mr Bunch said: "The man engaged him in conversation, asking if he would take a parcel for a neighbour for whom he was delivering the item. 

"The complainant, seeking to be helpful, agreed to do so and headed towards his front door.

"The man followed with the parcel."

The court heard as Mr Blake opened the front door the raider "pushed him into the hallway".

Mr Bunch added: "Once inside, the man produced a knife from behind his back and started demanding 'where's the money'."

The court heard Mr Blake handed over around £4,000 in cash but the raider kept asking for "the real money" and pushed him upstairs, where he took the watches.

Mr Bunch added: "The man kept demanding the money, acting aggressively, making threats he would use the knife to cut his hand off."

The court heard the raider was joined by two masked accomplices and Mr Blake eventually showed them a place under floorboards where another £15,000 was kept, in a Quality Street tin.

He was warned to stay in the bathroom "for five minutes" after the raiders left he house but fled from the back door as soon as he heard them go. 

During the course of the raid the victim was hit with the hilt of the knife and suffered a significant cut to his head which was sutured and stapled at hospital.

Ian Skivington, 51, of Thornhill Road, Ponteland, and Lee Donald, 39, of Rowantree Road, Newcastle, both admitted aggravated burglary and have each been jailed for seven years and eight months.

Thomas Clayton, 38, of Laburnum House, Wallsend, admitted handling stolen goods and has been jailed for four months.