Woman fought off machete-wielding robber in her Shildon home, court told

The Northern Echo: Jailed: James Latcham Jailed: James Latcham

A MASKED machete-carrying teenager high on drink and drugs put a feisty female householder through a terrifying ordeal in her own home, a court heard.

James Latcham and an accomplice, also wearing a balaclava and carrying what appeared to be a BB pistol, barged into the woman's home in Shildon, County Durham, after she answered a knock at the back door, at 3pm on February 20.

Durham Crown Court heard that Latcham put the machete to the woman's throat and said: “Give me your money and everything you've got.”

Paul Reid, prosecuting, told the court: “With considerable fortitude she grabbed the machete by the blade, cutting her hand.

“He pushed her into the kitchen work top and repeated his demand, putting his left hand to her throat.

“Yet, she was able to kick against a cupboard to try attract the attention of her partner, who was elsewhere in the house.

“The other youth, who had the pistol, said: 'Ha, ha. You think you're clever. I'm going to shoot you'.”

She told him: “If you're going to shoot us, then shoot us.”

Mr Reid said: “The pistol was pointed in her direction and there was a 'click' but it only released air, so it appeared to be unloaded.

“The woman's partner then came in, carrying a baseball bat, and said: 'Get off her', at which they ran off.

“But the smaller of the pair shouted: 'We'll be back'.”

Although the woman's partner chased them, they escaped, and also out-ran a police officer who spotted someone answering Latcham's description in the area.

Mr Reid said a police helicopter was summoned to help the search, but it was a friend of the couple, alerted by a phone-call over what had taken place, who saw Latcham with scratches to his face, from fleeing through bushes.

Latcham told the woman: “Did you hear the chopper?

“They're after us because I've done a house round the corner and stashed them (the weapons) in a green bin.”

Mr Reid said Latcham was arrested eight days later and his shoes were seized, enabling a match to be made with a footprint 'lift' taken outside the targeted house.

His accomplice has not been apprehended.

John Turner, mitigating, told the court: “The offences were committed while he was under the influence of drink and drugs.

“He believed there were drugs present on the premises, which is why he went there, to feed his craving.”

Mr Turner added that while in custody Latcham has begun overcoming his drugs addiction, and still has the support of his family.

The 19-year-old, of Chestnut Avenue, Spennymoor, admitted aggravated burglary, attempted robbery and possessing a bladed article in public.

Imposing an eight-year custodial sentence, to start in a young offenders' institution, Judge Christopher Prince praised the victim's, “admirable fortitude”, but agreed with the probation report that Latcham poses a potential danger to the public at large.

Comments (7)

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12:47pm Mon 28 Apr 14

pandorica says...

Oh my the poor lady must of been terrified. How incredibly brave to stand up to these scum of the earth. I hate how they always have an excuse for their actions, there is no excuse, and I hope they get what they deserve and more when inside.
Oh my the poor lady must of been terrified. How incredibly brave to stand up to these scum of the earth. I hate how they always have an excuse for their actions, there is no excuse, and I hope they get what they deserve and more when inside. pandorica
  • Score: 20

1:14pm Mon 28 Apr 14

MartinMo says...

The womans partner made the biggest mistake. He should not have warned them to release his wife, his first action should have been to drive the baseball into the face of the closest scum bag with enough blunt force trauma to take the life from the body.

Even if the second ran off there would be at least one low life scum bag unable to re-offend.

They all have petty excuses for their actions and always seem to get off lightly. Punishments need to more severe in reflection to the crimes regardless of the individuals personal circumstances.
The womans partner made the biggest mistake. He should not have warned them to release his wife, his first action should have been to drive the baseball into the face of the closest scum bag with enough blunt force trauma to take the life from the body. Even if the second ran off there would be at least one low life scum bag unable to re-offend. They all have petty excuses for their actions and always seem to get off lightly. Punishments need to more severe in reflection to the crimes regardless of the individuals personal circumstances. MartinMo
  • Score: 21

2:13pm Mon 28 Apr 14

somethinginsidesostrong says...

This incident is atrocious, and very scarring mentally. However, at least Shildon police acted on the womans behalf. When a gang threatened to rape me in my own home & assaulted my husband twice in our own home - the police felt we were a deserved victim we saw no action. I am pleased that Shildon police were proactive.
This incident is atrocious, and very scarring mentally. However, at least Shildon police acted on the womans behalf. When a gang threatened to rape me in my own home & assaulted my husband twice in our own home - the police felt we were a deserved victim we saw no action. I am pleased that Shildon police were proactive. somethinginsidesostrong
  • Score: 9

3:40pm Mon 28 Apr 14

Voice-of-reality says...

I trust you filed an IPCC complaint
I trust you filed an IPCC complaint Voice-of-reality
  • Score: 2

10:43am Tue 29 Apr 14

Libertarian Party (North) says...

Why was a 19 year old sent to a "Young Offenders' Institution"?

At 19 he is deemed to be an adult, is old enough to vote, and should have been sent to a real prison. Addiction in this case was a motive, and should not be viewed as mitigating evidence.

One would expect that Latcham would be overcoming his addiction, not through his own efforts, but surely owing to an interrupted supply.
Why was a 19 year old sent to a "Young Offenders' Institution"? At 19 he is deemed to be an adult, is old enough to vote, and should have been sent to a real prison. Addiction in this case was a motive, and should not be viewed as mitigating evidence. One would expect that Latcham would be overcoming his addiction, not through his own efforts, but surely owing to an interrupted supply. Libertarian Party (North)
  • Score: 7

11:24am Tue 29 Apr 14

somethinginsidesostrong says...

Voice of reality - " I trust you filed an I.P.C.C. report" exactly yes I did but as the I.P.C.C. is a Mutual Appreciation Society to the police only 40+% complaints stand. The I.P.C.C. needs to stop self policing. When I complained about the discharge of a shotgun and Air Rifle in the locality, the police and I.P.C.C. claimed those firearms were none existent. Whilst simultaneously the police boasted to The Northern Echo they had confiscated a shotgun and air rifle from that locality to promote public confidence. Also if we had not been deserved victims; then the police would have had to make a referral to Social Services. It is far easier for them to make a falsified record after all who is going to question those false records? If you dare say "hang on a minute", then you are dismissed as unhinged. I suppose this is what you call Social Justice!
Voice of reality - " I trust you filed an I.P.C.C. report" exactly yes I did but as the I.P.C.C. is a Mutual Appreciation Society to the police only 40+% complaints stand. The I.P.C.C. needs to stop self policing. When I complained about the discharge of a shotgun and Air Rifle in the locality, the police and I.P.C.C. claimed those firearms were none existent. Whilst simultaneously the police boasted to The Northern Echo they had confiscated a shotgun and air rifle from that locality to promote public confidence. Also if we had not been deserved victims; then the police would have had to make a referral to Social Services. It is far easier for them to make a falsified record after all who is going to question those false records? If you dare say "hang on a minute", then you are dismissed as unhinged. I suppose this is what you call Social Justice! somethinginsidesostrong
  • Score: 1

12:51pm Tue 29 Apr 14

MartinMo says...

What on earth makes someone a deserving victem?

If someone attempts to mug you but you beat him to an inch of his life he is not a deserving victem, you are still the victem of a mugging he is nothing more than a deserving scumbag who got all he had coming.

It's no wonder a lot of people consider taking the law into their own hands, the justice system is a joke with criminals getting off far to lightly.

My belief is that the moment you infringe on anothers human rights you forfeit the right to be protected by the human rights act.
What on earth makes someone a deserving victem? If someone attempts to mug you but you beat him to an inch of his life he is not a deserving victem, you are still the victem of a mugging he is nothing more than a deserving scumbag who got all he had coming. It's no wonder a lot of people consider taking the law into their own hands, the justice system is a joke with criminals getting off far to lightly. My belief is that the moment you infringe on anothers human rights you forfeit the right to be protected by the human rights act. MartinMo
  • Score: 4

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