Highlands & Islands

Aberdeen man jailed for 'terrifying robbery' in Inverness

John Adams Image copyright Police Scotland
Image caption John Adams struggled with the home's owners during the robbery

A member of an armed gang that robbed a couple in their home in Inverness has been jailed for nine years.

John Adams, 28, of Aberdeen, and two others burst into Ronald and Jennifer Dyce's house, the High Court in Glasgow heard.

The couple were babysitting two children at the time.

Adams and the others were wearing Scream-style horror film masks and stole up to £1,000 from a safe, the court heard.

Before they left the gang - who were armed with a crowbar and a hammer - threatened violence towards the husband and wife and the children, who were eight and 14.

Adams admitted, while acting with others, to robbing Mr Dyce and threatening him, his wife and the children on 18 March.

'Kids get it'

The couple and the children had returned to the house in the Hilton area of Inverness from a visit to a restaurant.

Judge Lady Rae told Adams that, but for his early guilty plea, she would have jailed him for 12 years.

She told Adams: "This must have been absolutely terrifying for this couple coming home from a restaurant to this.

"It is clear you were watching the house. You went in with weapons and threatened this couple and the two children. You were masked and intent on robbing them."

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption John Adams was jailed at the High Court in Glasgow

Neighbours saw three men walking towards the Dyce home, the court heard.

During the incident Mr Dyce was forced to open the safe.

The court heard that one of the men then demanded more money from Mr Dyce and told him: "The kids will get it mate."

This enraged Mr Dyce and he punched the man on the chest. The man ran off and Mr Dyce chased him for a short distance in his bare feet.

'Gambling debts'

Mr Dyce and his wife were able to grab hold of Adams and in a struggle his hooded fleece top was removed and he dropped a hammer.

During the struggle, Mrs Dyce was punched in the back and pushed against a wall, resulting in minor injuries.

Adams' DNA was found in the hooded top and inside a glove.

Defence counsel Jonathan Crowe said: "He apologises for his actions.

"He had significant gambling debts. He was told he would be taking part in the robbery and felt he had no choice."

Following Adams' sentencing, Det Insp Steven Mackenzie, of Police Scotland, said: "This was a frightening ordeal for Adams' victims who were targeted within their own home, where they should feel at their most safe.

"It was also an understandably distressing incident for the community in the Hilton area and I would like to thank the witnesses for their bravery and the wider public for their help and support during our investigation.

"Crimes like this will not be tolerated in Inverness or anywhere else and Police Scotland is completely committed to tackling violent crime in all its forms."

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