UK & World News
Tenancy Agreement Ends Family's Hostage Ordeal
Three robbers who held a family hostage - and released them only when a tenancy agreement proved they had targeted the wrong people - have been jailed.
Nigel Jarman, Darren Edwards and Raymond Wallace forced their way into a house in Faversham in Kent, and demanded drugs and money in a robbery described by a judge as "every family's worst nightmare".
Police said the ordeal left an eight-year-old boy, who was grabbed by Wallace and dragged into the living room, "hysterical with fear".
The gang fled after the rental document showed their victims had only moved into their new home two weeks earlier.
They were stopped and arrested by police as they drove towards Birchington-on-Sea.
Detective Constable Richard Allingham, of Kent Police, said: "It is difficult to imagine the sheer panic the four victims must have experienced when they were trapped inside their new home and held hostage by two men demanding to be given cash and drugs.
"Not only were three adults left terrified and traumatised, a little boy was scared out of his wits and manhandled by Wallace during their awful ordeal.
"It is to their eternal credit that they managed to stay cool-headed enough to produce their tenancy agreement.
"They then were able to stay calm long enough to note down the registration number of the getaway car, which helped us make arrests within minutes of the robbers leaving the house."
Edwards, 38, of Stratford, London, and Wallace, 40, of Margate, pleaded guilty to robbery and false imprisonment when they appeared at Maidstone Crown Court.
They were jailed for four years and four months, and five years respectively.
Jarman, 59, of Birchington-on-Sea, denied robbery, but was found guilty by a jury and jailed for four and a half years.
Det Con Allingham added: "Wallace, Edwards and Jarman are cowardly men who gave their victims little or no thought in their hunt for drugs and money.
"I welcome today's sentences and hope their time behind bars will give them time to reflect on their appalling actions."