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Burglars who terrorised Cheltenham couple are jailed

A pair of drug addled armed burglars who terrorised a Cheltenham couple in their own home have been handed lengthy jail terms at Gloucester crown court.

Kenneth Davis, 37, of Taylor House, Matson, was sentenced to nine years four months in prison and Emma O'Loughlin, 32, of the same address, received an eight year sentence.

The pair raided the home of Rebecca Nangle and William Preece in Henley Road on 30th September this year when the couple were both in, said prosecutor Janine Wood.

"There was a knock at the door," she said. "Mr Preece did not recognise the girl at the door so he opened the letterbox to ask what she wanted.

"He then opened the door a little bit but noting what he thought was someone behind her he went to close it.

"He felt the door push against him but he managed to lock it and went to the kitchen and picked up a knife. He saw a man at the rear window, which was the defendant Davis.

"He heard more banging on the door and then the sound of smashed glass. He then saw two males in the alleyway outside. He ran after them but couldn't catch up with them, so returned home.

"Meanwhile, Miss Nangle had heard the door and the sound of glass. She heard someone downstairs shout 'It's Steve Davis'. She knew a Steve Davis from primary school. She went to call the police.

"She then went downstairs and saw the defendant Davis, whom she recognised from school. She did not know the girl.

"At that point, Davis asked 'Where's the money? Give us the money. We can take what we want.'

"They followed her into the kitchen/living area and again asked where the money was. Miss Nangle pointed to a Nescafé jar and told them to take it.

"Mr Davis held a crowbar and was holding it up to her. She says she was very frightened. She described him as looking 'crazy,' as if he was going to kill her," Mrs Wood said.

The defendants used Miss Nangle's debit card, which they had taken, in a nearby garage to buy alcohol and tobacco worth £24.08, the prosecutor added.

Davis and O'Loughlin, who have been 'in and out of the prison system for years,' both admitted aggravated burglary and fraud.

The court heard that their length criminal records include previous offences of burglary, making them both eligible for mandatory minimum sentences under the 'three strikes and you're out' rule.

Judge Ian Lawrie QC was told that despite various types of intervention they have been unable to kick their drug habits and stay on the straight and narrow.

Judge Lawrie told the pair there comes a time when "enough is enough" and all alternatives to jail have been exhausted.

"That point has been reached and you are both going to prison for a very long time" he told the pair.

For Davis, Joe Maloney said his only mitigation has was that admitted his guilt at an early stage.

Judge Lawrie responded "Well looking at the evidence he didn't have much choice did he?"

Defending O'Loughlin, Dianne Haynes said her client had had a troubled upbringing after being physically and sexually abused in the home at 11 years old, which resulted in her putting herself into care.

"What followed was a chaotic lifestyle peppered with a string of offences. She started using cannabis which turned to Crack Cocaine and then to heroin. She doesn't recognise normal behaviour. This is her life."

Responding Judge Lawrie said "The system has put in a huge amount of effort over the last decade to help this lady and there comes a point when you think why does the system bother when the person does not use the opportunities."

Judge Lawrie told the pair he was not convinced the pair showed any remorse for their actions.

"You have an appalling history both of you from being shackled to an overwhelming drug habit that you have only been able to fund through crime" Judge Lawrie told them.

Davis received 9 years and 4 months for the aggravated burglary and O'Loughlin 8 years. Both received an 18 month concurrent sentence for the use of the stolen debit card.

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