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Three men and woman on trial after Gravesend family suffer terrifying gun ordeal

Four men brought terror to a family home when they burst in armed with a sawn-off shotgun and a stun gun and demanded money, a court heard.

A friend staying at the house in Poplar Avenue, Gravesend, heard a noise outside just after 4am on July 23 last year.

He opened the back door and was confronted by a shotgun pointing at him and a light shining in his face.

Police and paramedics at the scene in Poplar Avenue
Police and paramedics at the scene in Poplar Avenue

The men forced their way in. One wearing a baseball cap was alleged to be Pablo Cripps, Maidstone Crown Court was told.

Prosecutor Martin Yale said the cap was later recovered and found to contain the 22-year-old's DNA.

The man staying in the house described him as the ringleader. He was holding a stun gun disguised as a torch.

“Why they chose the address cannot be said with any certainty,” said Mr Yale.

“Mr Cripps threw him to the floor and started demanding where the money was. They thought there was money there.”

A daughter of the householder, who was out at the time, heard the commotion from her bedroom upstairs and told a friend to hide under the bed.

The case was heard at Maidstone Crown Court
The case was heard at Maidstone Crown Court

She phoned her father, who was on his way home, and alerted him.

Mr Yale said Cripps and a dark-skinned man, alleged to be Leon Douglas, 35, entered the room. Douglas had a knife and was being told what to do by Cripps.

The knife was held to her throat as money was demanded. The girl’s sister told him to leave her alone. They then went looking for items of value.

The first girl broke free and ran into the garden. Her father’s car arrived and she ran to him.

One of the men with a stun gun chased her around the car. Her father tried to fend them off with his walking stick.

The police were called but before they arrived there was violence in the house. The father suffered cuts and bruises to his head, fingers and legs.

“A gun was held against him,” said Mr Yale.

“One of the men said to shoot him.”

Neighbours were alerted. One later described seeing a black man with a scar under his eye. They intervened and Cripps’ cap came off. He dropped a stun gun.

“A gun was held against him... One of the men said to shoot him” - Prosecutor Martin Yale

The four intruders eventually ran off to a waiting Peugeot car, registered to Douglas’ girlfriend Shireen Garraghan. The shotgun was left by a sofa.

A month later police went to Cripps’ home and arrested him. Officers seized shotgun cartridges that could be fired in the weapon left at the scene.

Garraghan’s home was also raided. She was in bed with Douglas at the time. Officers saw he had a scar under his eye.

Cripps, of Hesketh Place, Notting Hill, west London, Douglas, of Flowers Close, Dollis Hill, north west London, and Garraghan, 31, of Hazlewood Crescent, Kensington, west London, are on trial with Adrian White, 41, of Gordon Road, Northfleet.

All four deny aggravated burglary and two charges of possessing a firearm.

Mr Yale said it seemed White did not enter the house, but was involved in planning the raid.

Garraghan was alleged to be the getaway driver. The two others who went into the house had not been identified.

The trial continues.

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