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Three men admit robbery after masked raiders storm home in Swanscombe

A mum, dad and child have relived the night they were terrorised in their home by armed and masked raiders.

The Swanscombe residents were about to start a PlayStation game when they were allegedly subjected to "utterly terrifying" violence and threats by Morgan Tinpeloo, Ashley Henry and Marvrick Elba in November last year.

Morgan Tinpeloo
Morgan Tinpeloo

It is claimed by the prosecution that one youngster was pinned down by Elba with a knife held against their neck as demands were made to hand over phones.

Other children were said to be screaming and crying as the same blade was waved at them and held towards their mum, while another, asleep in a bed, was alleged to have been threatened with having their throat "slit or slashed" by Henry.

Wearing balaclavas and wielding Stanley knives, the three assailants had burst into the property just after 9pm on November 2.

Having been confronted by the intruders in his hallway, the adult male householder was struck with a bottle by Tinpeloo before being frogmarched upstairs to a bedroom to find money.

When that proved unsuccessful, however, it is alleged Henry warned he would harm the sleeping child.

He then "shoved" the dad back downstairs and hit him as many as five times to the head with a 10kg dumbbell, fracturing his skull.

In the meantime, Elba had gone into the living room where he is accused of confronting the rest of the family - an ordeal which so terrified the children's mother that she wet herself, Maidstone Crown Court heard.

Giving evidence this week, she sobbed as she revealed that one of the youngsters now suffers panic attacks as a result.

Tinpeloo, 26, of Main Road, Longfield, Henry, 29, of Crescent Wood Road, Sydenham, south east London, and 28-year-old Elba, of White Road, Chatham, have all admitted robbery.

Tinpeloo and Henry have also pleaded guilty to causing grievous bodily harm with intent in relation to the attacks with the bottle and weight.

Mavrick Elba, of White Road, Chatham, admitted robbery
Mavrick Elba, of White Road, Chatham, admitted robbery

But Elba and Henry deny that their parts in the raid involved any knifepoint threats, and to children in particular.

Therefore, what is known as a Newton hearing - where a judge decides the facts without a jury - was held on Monday (May 20).

Appearing via remote link to the court, the two adult victims and one of the children each described how the frightening drama unfolded, beginning with the sound of "a very loud bang" as the men rushed into their home.

Asked how near to her Elba had brandished his weapon, the woman told the court: "It didn't touch me but it was close enough. Close enough that I wet myself."

She also recalled the terrifying moment she saw her child "squirming and screaming" at being pinned to the floor at knifepoint by Elba before he then waved the blade at other youngsters in the room as he searched for her phone.

"They were screaming. I wanted to go to them but he wouldn't let me. I tried and he said 'Get on the floor'," she added.

But when it was suggested by Elba's barrister that she was wrong in her account of what happened, the distraught mum vehemently replied: "He is lying. My (child) is having panic attacks because of what they have done, and you are telling me I am lying. They are lying."

The youngster who gave evidence wiped away tears after recalling how the knife was brandished, hearing screams from siblings, being ordered not to call police and suffering face and arm injuries from being pinned down by the robber.

‘They were screaming. I wanted to go to them but he wouldn't let me…’

Elba, the court heard, accepted wielding a blade and demanding phones.

But he maintained he had not held anyone down, put the blade to any throats or caused any injuries.

"I admit I was quite adamant and persistent in them giving their phones to me but I didn't at any point scream, yell or raise my voice," he told the court.

He also refuted there being more than one child in the living room, claiming the others "must have been upstairs".

However, the parents maintained throughout the hearing that only one of their children was upstairs.

The dad also recalled the moment Henry allegedly threatened the sleeping youngster after Tinpeloo's efforts to find money proved fruitless.

The father told the court: "He (Henry) said 'Where's the money?' and put the blade to (child's) throat and said he was going to slit or slash it."

He later denied when questioned by Henry's barrister that he had "misremembered, embellished or made up" such a detail.

However, Henry - himself a dad - claimed that the man had "100% lied".

"From my knowledge there was no children in no bedroom, in no bed that I saw," he said.

"I never said such a thing. I never saw no children. I did not do that. I never put no knife to no child's neck....100% he (the father) has lied.

The Newton hearing was held at Maidstone Crown Court
The Newton hearing was held at Maidstone Crown Court

"I admit using a dumbbell....As sentencing goes, I know I'm going to get the biggest sentence because I was the one who chose random violence.

"I have owned up to doing the GBH with intent. This (the threat to the child)? I didn't do this.

"I have nothing to lie about, nothing to hide. I'm not going to admit to something I didn't do. I have kids of my own."

Having heard from the two defendants and three victims, Judge Oliver Saxby KC reserved judgment until June 25, telling Henry and Elba: "I will now go away and decide what I deem the truth to be."

Although they have pleaded guilty to the offences, the judge's ruling could impact the sentences imposed in terms of culpability, harm, and aggravating features

Reports to assess any danger Elba, Henry and Tinpeloo may pose to the public have also been ordered for their sentencing hearing on October 17.

All three remain in custody.

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