Thug armed with crowbar said 'it's nothing personal mate' before stealing car

Teenager Sam Walker has been jailed
-Credit: (Image: South Yorkshire Police)

A violent, coked-up teenager told a man "It's nothing personal mate" after brandishing a crowbar and threatening to kill him and his partner for their car.

The couple had gone to bed at their home in Conisbrough on October 30 last year before Sam Walker, 19, smashed his way through the property's patio doors and tried to find a set of car keys.

Prosecutor Sam Jones told Sheffield Crown Court on Friday the home had once belonged to the woman's grandparents, and she had felt "safe" there before the aggravated burglary. He said she woke up to a noise, and her partner went to see what it was while she called the police.

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Mr Jones said: "She could hear a man screaming, 'Give me the car keys, give me the f****** car keys.' He [the woman's partner] went into the bedroom looking for the keys. His car was on the driveway and hers was in the garage after being subjected to a theft earlier in the week."

Walker followed the man into the bedroom and continued to say: "Give me your car keys...I'm going to f****** kill you.'

Mr Jones said: "He had a large crow bar in his hand and was brandishing it and pointing it at them. She told him she was on the phone to police and he didn't seem bothered and was still screaming about the whereabouts of the keys. The man found the keys in the kitchen and took the car key off the bundle of keys which were attached to it and handed him it. He described the defendant calming down somewhat.

"He [Walker] said, 'It's nothing personal mate, I just need your car.' He got into the car and had some difficulty getting it off the driveway, perhaps an unfamiliarity with the automatic transmission."

Walker drove the Volvo, which was then spotted in Mexborough by officers who pursued it. The court heard Walker drove at speed before slowing down and reversing and ramming into the police car. Mr Jones said: "The defendant got out of the car and ran off. He ran into some bungalow gardens and was found lying between gravel boards."

He was found to be in possession of a bag of cocaine. The crowbar was recovered from the car and Walker was arrested. He answered "no comment" in his police interview but went on to plead guilty to aggravated burglary, dangerous driving, criminal damage and possession of class A drugs.

Sheffield Crown Court
Sheffield Crown Court -Credit:Yorkshire Live

In a victim impact statement, the man said his partner "pretends to be ok but really she is not." He said: "The reality is unless I stay at hers at night, she goes to her parents. The incident has totally changed our lives. Her parents are also worried. It broke their hearts knowing we were in such a vulnerable position that night. All I wanted was to keep her safe. I now feel like we're slowly beginning to rebuild our lives but the trauma we experienced that night will be permanent."

In her victim impact statement, the woman spoke of her property's sentimental value and added: "On the 31st October, my life took a drastic change...I felt unsafe and vulnerable in the one place I have always felt safe. I listen to noises and get up to check in the middle of the night and I am mentally and physically exhausted...

"I never thought it would be something that would happen to me. In my opinion there is no valid reason to put two innocent, hard-working people through such a traumatic event. I have been receiving therapy. I'm slowly starting to rebuild my life and I hope the defendant can do the same and make a more positive impact with his life and future."

The court heard Walker, of Wright Crescent in Wombwell had previous convictions for offences including criminal damage.

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Mitigating, Amy Earnshaw, told the court Walker appreciated he would be handed an immediate custodial sentence of some length. She said he had taken cocaine before the burglary and "there was an issue and he was using the drug at the time."

The barrister said: "He hadn't targeted this address, he hadn't been put up to it by anyone else, but it is right very little information has been put up by him about the offending, but he says in the pre-sentence report he is unable to remember but he appreciates the complainants would have been extremely impacted at seeing him inside their home which should have been a safe place. He had no intention to harm them."

The court was told Walker "wishes it never happened" and "wishes he could turn back the clock." It was said Walker had had a "broken upbringing" but had worked as a bathroom fitter before being "bullied" by his employer and working in the warehouse industry. Ms Earnshaw said: "He is capable of work and holding down a job and behaving in an appropriate manner."

It was said Walker has himself been the victim of a serious assault while in custody and has been taking medication after suffering a broken eye socket.

Her Honour Judge Rhys handed Walker six years in detention and made him the subject of a driving disqualification for 67 months.