SIX men have been convicted following two violent break-ins in Tilbury and Horndon-on-the-Hill.
A group of men tried to force their way into an address in Portsea Road, Tilbury at around 11.25pm on September 18, 2017.
The occupant, a man in his 70s, was getting ready to go to bed when he heard his dogs growling at the door of his caravan.
As he made his way to his door he saw four men near the window of a bungalow on the same plot of land and shouted at them to go away.
The men then went towards the caravan, smashing a glass door and forcing their way in.
The victim used his walking stick to fend them off but they grabbed it from him.
He then tried to fend them off using a wooden chair but was struck over the head with a metal file leaving him with significant injuries to his eye and face.
The victim’s neighbours heard the noise coming from the caravan and shouted out causing the men to run off.
Just over a week later, during the early hours of September 27, 2017, a group of men forced their way into an address in Saffron Gardens, Horndon-on-the-Hill.
The men were all wearing masks and gloves and armed with a variety of weapons including firearms and knives.
They entered one of the bedrooms and threatened the people inside, demanding money.
They subjected the people living inside the house to an ordeal which included physical assault and threats of violence.
A man in his 30s was repeatedly assaulted hit round the head with a firearm, struck to the hands and legs with a hammer, and burned on his hands, arms, and shoulder with an iron.
He also had a gun pointed at him.
A woman was assaulted and had duct tape put around her arms and across her mouth.
A seven year-old boy was assaulted while a four year-old young girl had a knife held to her throat and assaulted.
The men also ransacked the house causing a four-figure sum of damage and stole money, jewellery and electrical items worth a four-figure sum.
The victims were then put into their own cars before they were driven to a field where the men forced them out and drove off, dumping the vehicles at another location.
Officers from the Essex Serious Organised Crime Unit began an investigation and seven men were arrested and charged:
Salih Bulbuller, 22, of Homerton Road, Hackney
Mark Bonsu, 25, of Doran Walk, London E15
Ayomide Ijelu, 23, of Lindisfarne Way, London E9
Emmanuel Ijelu, 27, Lindisfarne Way, London E9
Jeremiah Johnson, 27, of Curzon Drive, Grays
Barry Douglas, 26, of Homerton Road, London E9
Wesley Williams, 32, of Lindisfarne Way, London E9 on August 10.
Ayomide and Emmanuel Ijelu, Johnson, Douglas, and Bulbuller have all been charged with aggravated burglary in connection with the incident in Tilbury.
Ayomide Ijelu, Johnson, Bonsu, Williams, and Bulbuller have been charged with robbery and possession of a firearm with intent in connection with the incident Hordon-on-the-Hill.
They all pleaded not guilty apart from Bullbuller who admitted aggravated burglary, robbery and possession of a firearm.
Following a month-long trial at Basildon Crown Court, were found guilty today (Monday, January 14).
Ijelu had also been charged with being concerned in making an offer to supply a controlled Class A drug and possession of a bladed article. He pleaded guilty to these offences at an early hearing.
All seven men will be sentenced at the same court on Friday.
Investigating officer Detective Inspector Steve Nelson said: “These men are dangerous and organised, carrying out well planned operations where they terrorised innocent people in their own homes.
“The victims were a family with young children and a vulnerable elderly man.
“They subjected the victims to brutal attacks, including an ordeal at the address in Horndon-on-the-Hill described in court as torture.
“The six defendants tried to convince the jury they weren’t responsible for these attacks and have shown no remorse at any stage.
“Investigations such as these are of the utmost seriousness and no stone will be left unturned when seeking to identify those responsible and ensuring they are apprehended and brought to justice.
“We hope the victims can find some solace in these convictions and can begin to rebuild their lives after such traumatic events.
“I want to pay tribute to their bravery.
“I also want thank my officers for their fantastic work and tenacity to trace these men, secure charges and help to get a successful conviction.”