Published: 12:31, 26 September 2019
| Updated: 13:26, 26 September 2019
A father was strangled and stabbed in front of his children during an armed raid at his home, a jury has heard.
The attack on Thomas Fellowes happened in front of his partner Chloe Smith and their two young children in Yalding, Maidstone Crown Court was told.
The masked robbers — who were armed with a gun, a knife, and a wrench — then fled with two Rolex watches and "a few hundred pounds", leaving Mr Fellowes beaten and bloodstained, it is alleged.
The intruders also threatened to shoot Ms Smith before punching her in the face, the court heard.
Prosecutor Ian Hope told how Ms Smith managed to escape, only to be dragged back before she was able to raise the alarm.
Mr Fellowes had armed himself with a machete after hearing noises near his home in the middle of the night.
As he stood at his front door the robbers smashed their way inside, Mr Hope said.
The father-of-two swung the machete to defend himself but the blade shattered after hitting a steel wrench.
He was then hit over the head and collapsed to the ground before being dragged back inside where the attack continued.
He was left with extensive injuries including a perforated colon.
By the time police arrived, he was laying in the foetal position covered in his own blood and unrecognisable, said Mr Hope.
He said: "In the middle of the night Thomas Fellowes heard and saw movement outside. He picked up a machete he kept in a cupboard. As he stood in front of his door, the glass exploded inwards.
"As he stepped outside he was confronted by four men wearing hats and face coverings. He swung the machete which was struck by the wrench, completely shattering the blade."
The prosecutor added: "The man with the wrench then struck Mr Fellowes to the head and he collapsed to the floor.
"He was then forcibly dragged back into his home, across the broken glass, struck again with the wrench and repeatedly stabbed in his back, sides and legs.
"One of the men produced a handgun and threatened to shoot his partner."
The prosecutor added that his home was heavily bloodstained and ransacked. A mattress had been removed from a bed and slats smashed up, while clothing from a child's room was strewn across the floor.
Six men and a woman have gone on trial accused of being either 'principals or accessories' in the raid in Yalding in the early hours of March 16 last year.
Marlon Manning, 43, from The Green, Bearsted; Kodee Powell, 24, of no fixed address; Stephan Allen, 25, from Chigwell in Essex; and Jhabril Freeman, 42, from East Dulwich, London all deny conspiracy to rob.
Manning, Powell, Allen and Freeman also deny having an imitation firearm with intent, as well as causing grievous bodily harm to Mr Fellowes with intent.
Manning has also pleaded not guilty to possessing ammunition, namely a modified 9mm blank cartridge, found by police during a police search of his home on July 19 last year.
The court heard he and Allen are also accused of conspiring to pervert the course of justice in August last year by seeking to induce Mr Fellowes to retract evidence he gave in his witness statement to police.
"In the middle of the night Thomas Fellowes heard and saw movement outside. He picked up a machete he kept in a cupboard. As he stood in front of his door, the glass exploded inwards..." — Prosecutor Ian Hope
Robert Powell, 49, who is the father of Kodee and from Grays in Essex; and Asif Malik, 43, from Ilford, Essex, deny encouraging or assisting the commission of an offence by providing the Mercedes said to have been used during the robbery.
Amy Wallace, 31, of Lancashire Road, Maidstone, is accused of encouraging or assisting the commission of an offence by allowing her home to be used by those committing violent crime.
The court heard that there had been "bad feeling" between Mr Fellowes and Wallace, whose ex-boyfriend was in prison at the time for a £20,000 burglary at the home of one of Mr Fellowes' sisters two months earlier.
It is alleged that Manning, another former partner of Wallace's, then made threatening phone calls to Mr Fellowes.
He in turn warned that the man responsible for the break-in and anyone who sided with him would 'get a hiding'.
Wallace was also said to be 'upping the ante and aggro' as a series of nuisance calls were made.
Mr Fellowes lived with his family in a mobile home at The Paddocks, Benover Road.
Mr Hope said the alleged victim was "partially strangled", beaten, stabbed and had a knife drawn across his throat, leaving a laceration mark, while repeated demands were made for money.
Attempts were also made to tie Mr Fellowes up as he tried to 'divert' them with the claim he had money at another property.
However, the four raiders - allegedly Manning, Allen, Kodee Powell and Freeman - eventually drove away at speed in the Mercedes.
Police en route to the yard were confronted by the vehicle driving towards them head-on at 80mph and momentarily airborne as the gang made their escape.
The vehicle was later found abandoned six miles away in Tovil, in the middle of the road with the keys still in the ignition.
The men had decamped, and two were later seen by witnesses without shoes or socks and wearing 'inappropriate' clothing for the time of year, having disposed of their 'incriminating', bloodstained outer clothes, said Mr Hope.
It is alleged Manning and Freeman made their way to Wallace's former home in Sussex Road while Allen headed back to his family home in Catford, east London.
The court heard the evidence linking the defendants to the raid came from mobile phone data, CCTV footage, ANPR cameras and DNA.
Blood inside the Mercedes matched Fellowes, while Kodee Powell's DNA was also found.
An invoice in the car led to Malik, who it is alleged made arrangements with Robert Powell to hand it over to his son.
When arrested by police, Manning described himself as acting as 'a pacifier' with Mr Fellowes in the past.
He said their relationship was amicable and denied any involvement in the violence.
Kodee Powell was arrested at Gatwick Airport on a return flight from Malaga, Spain, in May last year.
Allen was arrested after he flew into the same airport in July last year.
Wallace told police she was in bed with broken ribs on the night Mr Fellowes was attacked.
The trial is expected to last up to nine weeks.
Manning is not in the dock with his co-accused as he has been declared unfit to stand trial.
More by this authorPaul Hooper