Teenagers locked up for terrorising elderly Bradford couple in their own home

Edward Cooke, of Greengates, after the attack

Jack McLoughlin was sentenced to six years in a young offender institution

First published in News by

Two knife-wielding teenagers who terrorised a defenceless elderly couple in their Bradford home were told by a judge that their crime “beggared belief” as they were locked up for a total of nine and a half years.

Jack McLoughlin, 18, punched 77-year-old Edward Cooke during the attack, breaking his jaw and causing him to fall to the ground.

His co-accused, a 17-year-old youth who cannot be named for legal reasons, demanded money from Mr Cooke’s partially blind wife Mary, 76, and threatened to kill her, Bradford Crown Court was told yesterday.

Prosecutor Peter Hampton told the hearing the pair had got into the Cookes’ bungalow in Greengates at 9.45pm on March 15 while Mr Cooke, who suffers from arthritis, was watching TV in the living room and his wife was in bed.

McLoughlin, who was 17 at the time of the offences, was armed with a dagger, described as being 12 inches long, and dressed in black with a scarf covering the bottom half of his face, Mr Hampton said.

He went into the living room and shouted threats at Mr Cooke, demanding the keys to his mobility vehicle, a Nissan Quashqai, which was parked on the drive.

His co-accused, who also had his face covered and was carrying a blade about six inches long, then entered the bedroom, confronting Mrs Cooke as she climbed out of bed, the court heard.

When Mrs Cooke emptied her purse and offered him the 30p that was inside, the court was told he replied: “You liar, you liar, give me your money or I’ll kill you.”

In the living room McLoughlin pointed the knife at Mr Cooke, who believed he was going to be stabbed, the court heard.

The teenager then drew back his hand holding the knife and punched Mr Cooke in the eye and as he did so, the blade cut the pensioner’s head. Mr Cooke fell backwards on to a small table, banging his arm before hitting the floor.

While he was on the floor McLoughlin searched his pockets, removing two mobile phones, one of which he threw to the floor. He stole the other, along with Mr Cooke’s watch, which was on the table.

The pair ran from the house and, as Mr Cooke was washing blood from himself, he heard the car being reversed off the drive and driven away at speed.

McLoughlin and the youth both admitted aggravated burglary and aggravated vehicle taking.

McLoughlin, who had been staying at a hostel in Heaton after being released on licence following a conviction for attempted burglary, also admitted to escaping custody on April 5 when he absconded from a police car in Eccleshill.

The court heard he had 20 previous convictions.

In mitigation, McLoughlin’s barrister Jayne Beckett conceded the incident involving the Cookes was “deplorable”.

McLouglin hung his head as he was sentenced to a total of six years in a young offender institution. He was also sentenced to eight months for escaping custody, to run consecutively, and banned from driving for two years.

His co-accused, who had no previous convictions, received a three-and-a-half year sentence and was also disqualified from driving for two years.

Sentencing the pair, Judge Peter Benson told them: “This elderly couple who could have expected, towards the end of their lives, to live in peace and tranquillity have had their lives ruined by you two. The callousness of this crime beggars belief.”

After the hearing, Detective Inspector Ryan Bragg, of Airedale and North Bradford CID, said: “We welcome these convictions and substantial sentences today for what was a particularly violent and calculated crime against two elderly and vulnerable victims.”

e-mail: hannah.baker@telegraphandargus.co.uk

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