A man has been jailed for more than 11 years after he was involved in a terrifying armed raid at family’s home.
Jamal Benjamin, 25, of Liversedge, was one of four masked men who carried out a targeted attack on the family’s large detached property in the hope of finding a safe filled with cash from a takeaway business.
He was arrested by armed police in Huddersfield.
During the mid-afternoon robbery in September 2013 a teenage student was grabbed round the neck by one of the intruders and had the barrel of a pistol put in her back as the men demanded to know the whereabouts of the safe.
Bradford Crown Court heard that her mother, who was three months pregnant, had a hand put over her mouth to stop her crying out and was thrown onto a sofa causing her to fear that she had suffered a miscarriage.
Benjamin, of Laverhills, Liversedge, insisted that he had been upstairs in the house at that time and that he did not see a gun or know that one was being carried by one of his accomplices.
In fact there was no safe in the house and the robbers, who were all dressed in black clothing and wearing balaclavas, eventually fled the Bradford home after taking just £30 from the student’s purse, gold earrings from her mother and a watch from an elderly male relative who had also been in the house at the time of the raid.
The brave teenager then followed the robbers outside and was able to get details of their Ford Focus car which had been hired in Huddersfield a few days earlier.
Judge Robert Bartfield was shown a dramatic recording taken from the West Yorkshire Police helicopter as it tracked the Ford Focus through roads in the Paddock area of Huddersfield.
Benjamin, who was behind the wheel, dropped off his accomplices near a roundabout before driving off at speed through afternoon traffic.
The footage showed him driving the wrong way down a one-way street and mounting the pavement before abandoning the car at Hebden Court flats in Chesil Bank, Quarmby.
Prosecutor Glenn Parsons told the court how armed police arrived in the area after Benjamin had gone into one of the flats.
Benjamin had knocked on one of the doors and demanded to be let in, but following a systematic search of the block he was arrested by police.
Benjamin admitted robbery charges in relation to the attack in Bradford and further offences of dangerous driving and driving while disqualified.
Judge Bartfield jailed him for a total of 11 years and three months and said the attack had left the family traumatised.
The judge also described Benjamin’s driving as “chilling” and said it was a miracle that nobody was killed.
Benjamin was banned from driving for five years, but the judge said he would also have to take an extended test before lawfully getting behind the wheel again.