Search

Drunken couple jailed for vicious robbery

PUBLISHED: 16:02 02 April 2009 | UPDATED: 16:04 07 September 2010

Ben McPartland A DRUNKEN couple who subjected a 26-year-old woman to a terrifying robbery in her Hampstead home have been jailed, one of them indefinitely. Michael Roe, 37, and Susan O Brien, 33, broke into the Finchley Road home of management consultant

Ben McPartland

A DRUNKEN couple who subjected a 26-year-old woman to a terrifying robbery in her Hampstead home have been jailed, one of them indefinitely.

Michael Roe, 37, and Susan O'Brien, 33, broke into the Finchley Road home of management consultant Caroline Orriss.

Once inside they tied her up with computer cables and threatened to stab her to death before pilfering anything they could get their hands on.

Roe, who like his female accomplice, is originally from Ireland, pleaded guilty and was handed an indefinite jail sentence for the protection of the public. He was told he must serve at least four years before he can be considered for release. O'Brien, who had denied the charges of robbery and burglary with violence, was given a nine-year jail term.

Blackfriars Crown Court heard that the pair had been knocking on doors of Frognal Court on April 19 last year to see if occupants were at home.

When they broke into Ms Orriss' flat, Roe dragged the terrified woman from room to room forcing her to fill bags with laptops and cameras from the various bedrooms.

She was forced to take off her jewellery, and rings which had belonged to her grandmother, were ripped from her fingers. She was also forced to hand over her cash card and pin.

Sentencing on Friday, Judge John Hillen told the pair: "The people of these islands, whether in the UK or in the Republic of Ireland need protecting from people like you. Their homes should be sacrosanct.

"They should be able to relax, as Ms Orriss was doing on that Saturday evening with a glass of wine, watching the TV, safe in the knowledge that their homes would not be invaded by those fuelled by drink and drugs who seek to enrich themselves and if necessary to use force, violence and threats in order to do so."

Prosecuting barrister Giles Curtis Raleigh told the court how at one point O'Brien shouted at the victim: 'Fill the f***ing bag or I will kill you, you bitch. I am going to f***ing stab you."

The court heard that O'Brien ordered her accomplice to take off the victim's clothes and gag her. Fearing she would be raped and killed, Ms Orriss thought about jumping through the window to escape her attackers.

When O'Brien and Roe left, she ran into the street barefooted where passers by came to her aid.

Ms Orriss moved out of Hampstead immediately after the attack, only returning once to pick up her belongings.

Her relationship with her boyfriend fell apart in the aftermath of the ordeal and she told the court she is still wracked with nerves when she is on the streets alone.

Judge Hillen said: "No sentence I can impose can give back the tranquillity and the peace which was in her life until that moment."

Speaking to the Ham&High at the end of the trial, Ms Orriss said: "It was harrowing to go through it all. I am just relieved it is all over, I am exhausted. Now it is over I just want to get on with enjoying the rest of my life."

ben.mcpartland@hamhigh.co.uk


If you value what this story gives you, please consider supporting the Ham&High. Click the link in the orange box above for details.

Become a supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Latest from the Hampstead Highgate Express