Judge slams police for bailing career criminal after they caught him red-handed still in stolen getaway car after terrifying house robbery that left him free to carry out string of knifepoint home raids
- Aaron Fielding raided a home in Wythenshawe, Manchester with sledgehammer
- He stole a van but was tracked down and arrested by police through stolen iPad
- The 33-year-old was bailed by officers and then went on to raid four more homes
- Jailing Fielding for seven years, the judge said police action left him ‘speechless’
Aaron Fielding (pictured) pleaded guilty to one count of robbery and two counts of aggravated vehicle taking and was jailed for seven years
A judge has slammed police officers after they bailed an armed robber who then carried out a string of knifepoint raids at other homes.
Judge Patrick Field said he was left ‘speechless’ by the decision to bail career criminal Aaron Fielding, who was caught red-handed in a stolen getaway car.
Fielding burst into a couple’s home in Wythenshawe, Manchester in the middle of the night while armed with a sledgehammer.
The couple tried to barricade themselves in their bedroom but handed over the keys to their van after Fielding threatened to kill them and their dog.
The 33-year-old was tracked down along with an accomplice an hour later by police using a Find My Phone app which was linked up to an iPad stolen during the raid.
He was bailed pending further inquiries and within days carried out four more robberies in one night in the same area while armed with a knife or screwdriver.
At Manchester Crown Court, Judge Field decided against demanding as explanation as he feared it would ‘take up too many resources’.
He told the court that Fielding had been jailed for five years for knife-point burglaries in July, as he sentenced him to another seven years for the sledgehammer raid.
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The judge said: ‘He is arrested for a violent robbery in someone’s house, then released and subsequently commits a series of armed burglaries armed with a knife.
‘This just seems remarkable, breathtaking even, that such a thing could happen.
‘I am tempted to say that an explanation should be given, but I expect that might take up too many resources.’
Jailing Fielding for seven years, the judge told him: ‘This was, in any view, a violent and terrifying robbery it’s the difficult to imagine the fear experienced by the victims.
At Manchester Crown Court (pictured), Judge Field decided against demanding as explanation as he feared it would ‘take up too many resources’
‘Masked men armed with sledgehammers and other gardening implements, one of them was you, smashed their way into their house through glass patio doors.
‘They then searched through the house plainly looking for the occupants, looking for a confrontation with these terrified people.
‘When you found them barricaded in a bedroom, you pushed your way in making threats to them and their dog. You were then sentenced for a series of burglaries and possession of a knife.
‘All of them were domestic burglaries which were, remarkably, committed after you had been arrested for this robbery, where you were caught almost red handed and released.
‘The victims were so shocked that they felt unable to live in their house anymore.’
The robbery occurred on May 21 after Fielding, who was masked in a balaclava, broke into the home of victims Alistair Mackey and Katarina Novotina as they slept.
Jeremy Lasker, prosecuting, said: ‘The barking of their dog woke up the occupants and Mr Mackey went downstairs to investigate.
‘He saw the defendant and an accomplice striking the doors with a sledgehammer.
‘He ran upstairs into the bedroom and they used their wardrobe to barricade the bedroom door. The culprits smashed their way into the door and got it partly open.
‘They threatened them and said that they wanted their car keys and money otherwise they and their dog would be killed.’
Mr Mackey passed the keys to Fielding and his accomplice, who then took a number of other items before fleeing the scene in the Fiat Doblo van.
An officer pulled up outside the home as the two were leaving, causing them to mount the kerb and ram the police car out of the way to make their escape.
Mr Lasker added: ‘The police tracked the vehicle down and the culprits were still in the vehicle. When they saw the police, they ran.
‘This defendant fell into a walkway and was caught. The other man got away and has not been brought to justice.
‘The complainants have said that they felt unable to return to their home after the incident and have left the property and moved to a different location.’
The court heard the burglaries took place on June 6 and Fielding was jailed for five years the following month for burglary and possession of a knife.
The court was unaware he was still being investigated over the armed robbery.
In mitigation, Michael Brady said of Fielding: ‘His life has spiralled out of control. He has a problem with gambling and he has lost his job as a result.
‘Hopefully, when he is released, he will seek help with his gambling and not come before this court again.
‘He apologises to the victims of his robbery and the victims of the burglaries.’
Fielding, of no fixed address, pleaded guilty to one count of robbery and two counts of aggravated vehicle taking.
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