Lewis Knowles and Dominic McDonald jailed for raiding deaf woman's house and demanding £1,000

A deaf mum had to lip read the demands of intruders who stormed into her home wanting money.

By Amanda Bourn
Friday, 15th July 2022, 2:54 pm
Updated Friday, 15th July 2022, 3:13 pm

The victim had just returned from shopping on December 30 when three raiders, one wearing a mask and one armed with a hammer, followed her into her house.

Raiders Lewis Knowles, Dominic McDonald and a third man then went into her son's bedroom and started going through drawers, taking whatever they wanted.

Newcastle Crown Court heard while McDonald jumped on the bed shouting, the victim was able to lip read him say that the son owed them £1,000.

Lewis Knowles and Dominic McDonald, who have been jailed for seven years.

Prosecutor Andrew Walker told the court: "She simply wanted to be left alone and for them to get out.

"She said she would pay the money. She could lip read her son saying he didn't owe them anything.

"She said she would transfer the money if someone gave her bank details and was trying to calm everyone down.

"She could lip read one saying they would come back every day if they didn't get the money."

The court heard the trio left with jewellery belonging to the son.

The mum said in a victim statement she now feels like a prisoner in her own home, struggles to sleep, has flashbacks, worries about her and her son's safety and is "very jumpy".

The intruders were caught on CCTV driving around the area with a fourth man in the car shortly before the raid, and were arrested two weeks later.

The court heard there was a rooftop stand off, lasting for a "number of hours", when police went to a house to arrest them.

The pair threw tiles and masonry at officers and negotiators were drafted in.

McDonald, 21, of Woodhorn Road, Ashington, and Knowles, 19, of Lindsay Avenue, Blyth, admitted aggravated burglary, affray and criminal damage.

Both have previous convictions.

Mr Recorder Toby Hedworth QC sentenced them both to seven years behind bars and said the victim found her ordeal "terrifying".

Richard Bloomfield, mitigating, said Knowles had described "feeling sorry for the victim" and was remorseful for what he did.

Ian Hudson, represendting McDonald, said his client had ADHD and required personality disorder assessment.