A mother from Greater Manchester, England, has been commended by a judge for her bravery after facing off with a machete-wielding robber and his 17-year-old accomplice who broke into her home in the dead of the night.
Wendy Reynolds had been enjoying listening to music with her daughter and a flatmate inside her Leigh home on the night of 19 October last year when she suddenly heard a loud bang outside.
When Ms Reynolds looked outside her door, she saw a man and a teenager on the path outside wearing balaclavas, and yelled out that she was going to call the police.
Despite rushing to lock the door, the thugs managed to kick it down, and while shouting out “give us the money”, forced their way inside.
Identified as Dale Bailey, 25, and a 17-year-old boy who cannot be named for legal reasons, the threatening duo proceeded into the property and attacked the two women.
In particular, the 17-year-old punched Ms Reynolds, and as she went to place her hand up over her face to protect it, Mr Bailey, who was standing nearby, caught her hand with the machete, lacerating it.
At this point, using her wits, Ms Reynolds quickly grabbed at Mr Bailey’s testicles in the hope to impede his movement.
Mr Bailey was left wincing in agony, however, this did not stop the teenager from continuing to beat the woman around her head.
Ultimately, Mr Bailey and the 17-year-old left the home stealing a Louis Vuitton handbag, a mobile phone and a tablet.
Nevertheless, their robbery was short-lived as police managed to track down the thugs a short time later.
The teenager was caught on nearby Devon Street, after he tripped over, with officers discovering on him a blood-stained bag and machete.
Mr Bailey was also arrested not far on Manchester Road.
He was found to have cannabis, scales, and a grinder on him.
Meanwhile, Ms Reynolds, who is in her 40s, suffered a fractured jaw along with three fractures around her eye socket, and a gash to her hand that required stitches.
Masked Thieves Face Bolton Brown Court to Learn of Jail Time
In August 2021, Mr Bailey and the teenager faced Bolton Crown Court over the theft where it was heard Mr Bailey and the teenager kept asking “where the drugs were stashed” and forced their way into each room as Ms Reynolds endeavoured to fight them off at each stop.
Meanwhile, the court was also told that in the mayhem, Ms Reynolds’ daughter was so frightened that she attempted to escape the scene through a window, but lost her grip and fell onto the roof of a 4×4, briefly being knocked unconscious in the process and suffered bruising.
In a victim impact statement, Ms Reynolds’ daughter said that she was “traumatised” and that the incident will “stay with her for the rest of her life”.
“I feared for my daughter’s safety and that’s why I put up such a fight, I did not want her to get hurt,” Ms Reynolds said.
She said at one point she even “grabbed one of the men by his testicles and held on tight to prevent him leaving the flat or getting the machete”.
She added that they were on the floor and she clutched at his leg to stop him from leaving.
Prosecution barrister, Kate Hammond, acknowledged Ms Reynolds feared for her child.
“She feared for her daughter’s safety, which is why she put up a fight.
“She didn’t want her to get hurt”.
The masked thieves both admitted to aggravated burglary.
Mr Bailey, from Leigh in Greater Manchester, was jailed for eight years, while the teenager, from Eccles, was sentenced to four and a half years.
In sentencing, Judge Tom Gilbart said, ”It should be observed Mrs Reynolds acted with extraordinary bravery in trying to deal with two armed intruders who thought they were entitled to help themselves to the contents of her flat.
“This was a disgraceful incident and you should be appalled at what you did.”
It is a criminal offence to break into a house or premises and steal property or carry out any other serious indictable offence.
A serious indictable offence is any offence that carries at least a maximum penalty of five years imprisonment.
If you are in NSW, the penalties for break, enter and commit serious indictable offence are contained in section 112 of the Crimes Act 1900 (NSW). The maximum penalty prescribed for this offence is 14-years imprisonment.
If the offence is committed in circumstances of aggravation, the maximum penalty is 20-years imprisonment, with a non-parole period of 5-years.
If the offence is committed in circumstances of special aggravation, the maximum penalty is 25-years in jail, with a standard non-parole period of 7-years.
To constitute ‘break’, there must at least be, for example, open a door, window or gate even if it’s unlocked, provided that it was at least closed.
For armed robbery type offences, the well-known Henry Guideline Judgment applies, which says that a sentence of this kind of offence generally warrants a penalty of 4-5 years imprisonment if the case fits within the common circumstances outlined in the guideline judgment.
As per section 105A of the Crimes Act 1900 (NSW), circumstances of aggravation involve any one or more of the following –
– the alleged offender is armed with an offensive weapon, or instrument,
– the alleged offender is in the company of another person or persons,
– the alleged offender uses corporal violence on any person,
– the alleged offender intentionally or recklessly inflicts actual bodily harm on any person,
– the alleged offender deprives any person of his or her liberty,
– the alleged offender knows that there is a person, or that there are persons, in the place where the offence is alleged to be committed.
Circumstances of special aggravation involve any or all of the following –
– the alleged offender intentionally wounds or intentionally inflicts grievous bodily harm on any person,
– the alleged offender inflicts grievous bodily harm on any person and is reckless as to causing actual bodily harm to that or any other person,
– the alleged offender is armed with a dangerous weapon.