Masked gang smashed into home and terrified teenagers
A TEENAGER who was part of a masked gang that smashed their way into an Easton home and terrified two teenage girls has been jailed.
Roshane Rowe was one of three men – one of whom brandished a knife – who broke into the home in Anstey Street at 1.30am April 23 this year.
The 18-year-old claimed at trial he happened to be nearby when a man he knew asked him to look after a mountain bike stolen in the incident and bandana worn by a raider.
But a jury at Bristol Crown Court rejected his evidence and he was found guilty of aggravated burglary.
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The court had heard from Richard Posner, prosecuting, that it was believed Rowe carried out the burglary in revenge because one of the girls had sent a picture of him with his hand on her knee to his girlfriend.
Text messages had shown that a knife was deliberately sought to carry to the burglary although Rowe said at trial it had been wanted so he could make a music video.
Yesterday Rowe, of Ludlow Close, St Paul's, was jailed for four years.
Passing sentence Judge Carol Hagen said: "You have been convicted of one of the gravest offences in the criminal calendar.
"It is difficult to imagine how terrified these two girls would have been.
"It was night, the door was broken in and three youths burst into the house.
"There was a confrontation with both victims while a knife was sourced, obtained and brandished.
"It gives me no pleasure whatsoever to impose the sentence that I must but I am in no doubt that it must be a substantial period of custody."
Mr Posner, prosecuting yesterday, produced impact statements showing both girls went to live elsewhere for some time after the burglary because they feared being in the house.
Even when they returned they obsessively checked windows and doors to make sure they were locked.
"The case is that Rowe was one of three men who, in the middle of the night, broke into someone's house and one of them brandished a knife," Mr Posner said.
The fact that the burglary happened at night with a child present and that a weapon was brandished were all aggravating factors that made the offence even more serious, Mr Posner said.
He confirmed that the two other men involved had never been found and brought to justice but added that Rowe had no previous convictions.
Simon Goodman, defending, said it could not be said that his client brandished the knife but accepted it was a very serious offence by a man who had no previous convictions.
"This is a desperate case," Mr Goodman told the court.
"This is a young man with an exemplary character with everything going for him.
"He is in education, has very bright prospects, but finds himself in front of the court for the first time in his life facing a very serious offence.
"He should be spending the next three or four years of his life in college but he is likely to be spending them in a very different environment indeed.
"This is a young man who is at a crossroads in his life and I do urge that any sentence passed upon him does not extinguish the chance of picking up the very positive elements of his future."