Burglars 'tried to chop off laundrette owner's feet and threatened to cut off his head'

Daniel Wood says he was left fearing for his life when men stormed him house pretending to be armed police

Friday 31 August 2018 13:22
Daniel Wood outside Basildon Crown Court
Daniel Wood outside Basildon Crown Court

Burglars "tried to chop off laundrette owner's feet" and threatened to cut off his head after they stormed his home pretending to be armed police, a court heard.

Daniel Wood, 39, was left fearing for his life after attackers, dressed mostly in black with their faces obscured, posed as armed police and broke into his property in December 2017.

The father-of-three from Essex was at home when the burglars entered shouting: “Armed police, armed police”, he told Basildon Crown court.

Within moments he said he was wrestled to the ground and had his hands cable-tied behind his back.

"There was one about six foot, a couple of smaller ones, all of a sudden they were there, bang, and as I lay down I realise there were loads there," he said. "All of a sudden, one's on the back of me. After that happened, one of them locked all the windows, locked all the blinds... we were locked in."

He added: "They were screaming violence, 'get on the floor now, armed police', that's exactly how it was. From start to finish, it was aggression... As I laid on the floor I just see two axes, a hammer, two handguns."

He told his partner to "do what they say" as the attackers ushered her and the children into another room.

Mr Wood said: "They pushed me upstairs into bedroom two, started to attack me with an hammer, I'm screaming, managed to break the cable ties off, grabbed a bedsheet and they started screaming 'where's the money, where's the money, under the floorboards?' and I told them I ain't got floorboards, it's a tiled floor".

The laundrette owner said he wrapped himself up in a bedsheet to defend himself as he was being "beaten to death with hammers" with three other men in the room.

"One of them pulled the bedsheet back and said 'I'll chop your head off and I won't lose a night's sleep over it'," he said.

The attackers then moved him to another bedroom where his fiancee Claire and two children were - at which point he realised his jewellery and cash stored in the wardrobe had already been taken.

An attacker pulled out a gun and pointed it at Mr Wood, before turning it on his then four-year-old son, Daniel.

"I thought they was going to shoot the little boy," Mr Wood told the court, adding that he was then taken into his living room, where he was told to get on the floor.

"One of them cable tied me again and one of them tried to chop my feet of with the axe."

Shaken, he gestured to the back of his ankles in the witness box, where he said the attack left "chop marks".

As the struggle continued, Mr Wood said he knocked the gun out of one of the attacker's hands and grabbed another one who he wrestled.

The tussle ended up downstairs, by which point there was "blood everywhere, blood from top to bottom".

The police arrived and he realised one of the attackers was at the bottom of the stairs, dead. He was later identified as Paul Robertson, 39.

Mr Wood was arrested on suspicion of murder but later released.

Defendants Michael Williams and and Christopher Salvador deny aggravated burglary and possession of an imitation firearm during the time of an offence.

Mr Wood denied being a drug dealer during cross examination after lawyer Kyri Argyropoulos, for Mr Williams, put to him that one of the attackers left the premises with a small holdall full of "smelly cannabis", also known as skunk.

Dismissing the claim, he added that he and his partner would occasionally smoke cannabis.

The businessman, who admitted to using different names over the years, including "Tony" and "Danny Wash" also denied changing his name in line with drug dealer practice.

The defendants, who were both in court, are in custody.

The trial continues.

Agencies contributed to this report

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