Man jailed for burgling Liverpool star Steven Gerrard

Martin Wilson
Image caption Wilson admitted taking part in the robbery at Gerrard's home

An "extremely violent" burglar who threatened to abduct the children of Steven Gerrard has been jailed for seven years and four months.

During the raid, Mr Gerrard's wife Alex Curran was confronted by four masked men at the house in Formby, Merseyside.

Martin Wilson, 22, of Hollowcroft, Stockbridge Village, initially denied burglary but changed his plea to guilty earlier this month.

He was sentenced at Liverpool Crown Court on Monday.

The court heard that Wilson struck while the Liverpool and England captain, 30, was playing in a Champions League tie in Marseille in 2007.

Ms Curran, 27, confronted the gang who demanded she hand over jewellery and the contents of a safe or they would "take her kids".

Judge Robert Warnock, sentencing, said: "You threatened the occupants of the house with violence and the use of a knife.

"Particularly seriously, you threatened to abduct the children if she did not hand over the safe.

"You are both venal and extremely violent. You have no regard for the dignity and security that is the right of every householder.

"Your actions are determined by your own selfishness and greed."

Star 'not targeted'

Ms Curran was at the house with the couple's two children, Lilly-Ella and Lexie, now aged six and four, and their nanny, Lyndsey Johnston.

Graham Pickavance, prosecuting, said all four were upstairs when the thieves entered the house by smashing a patio door.

Image caption Ms Curran was at home with her children during the raid

They raced up the stairs and grabbed hold of the women, before one them told Ms Curran: "If you don't tell us where the safe is, we'll take the kids."

Despite being shown its location, the men could not move the safe because it was too heavy - so they ransacked the house instead.

Miss Johnston used the opportunity to pick up a telephone and call the police and the gang later fled.

Mr Pickavance said: "This property was targeted as it is a large house with high value and powerful cars parked outside.

"The Crown cannot say, however, that it was targeted because it was Steven Gerrard's home."

World Cup preparation

Detectives caught Wilson because a mobile phone he used during an earlier robbery was also used close to the Gerrard home on the night of the robbery.

Gerrard was one of several high-profile footballers to be targeted by burglars while playing away matches, but Wilson is not being linked to any other incidents.

Wilson is already serving six years and eight months in jail after admitting conspiracy to burgle at Liverpool Crown Court last year.

The latest sentence will run concurrently.

Merseyside Police is continuing to hunt the other members of his gang.

Gerrard is currently with the England team in South Africa preparing for the World Cup and neither he nor his wife attended the hearing.

Speaking after the hearing, Ch Supt Tony Doherty, of Merseyside Police, said: "We are committed to reducing burglaries across the force area and today's result reflects our commitment to continue to drive down burglary."

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