Following a Thames Valley Police investigation, two people have been jailed for a combined 12 years for offences including aggravated burglary, assault, and making off without payment in Milton Keynes.
Nicola Keppel, aged 42, and Paul Sellars, aged 46, were jailed at Aylesbury Crown Court this week.
Both were each charged with aggravated burglary and making off without payment, while Sellars was also charged with a single count of assault.
Keppel was found guilty by a jury on 27 October this year following a two day trial, while Sellars pleaded guilty to his charges earlier in the year on 27 January, both at the same court.
Both were sentenced each to six years for the aggravated burglary offences. Sellars received an additional two months for assault, and seven days for making off without payment. Keppel received an extra 14 days, seven each for making off without payment and a fail to appear offence.
On 3 November 2019, Keppel and Sellars took a taxi ride together at around 7.30pm to Christian Court in Milton Keynes. After coming to a stop, Sellars assaulted the taxi driver, a man in his fifties, by hitting him in the back and shoulders, before both then ran off from the taxi without paying their fare. The victim did not sustain any injuries.
Shortly afterwards at 7.50pm, they approached a property nearby in Portland Drive. Keppel knocked on the door and stated to an occupant that she and her partner had had an argument and requested to make a phone call.
The victim, a woman in her seventies, then allowed Keppel into the house to make the phone call, before Sellars, who the victim had not seen until this point, pushed his way into the property with a balaclava on and armed with a knife.
The victim had an altercation with Sellars in the hallway which resulted in her sustaining cut injuries to her head and hand, and bruising to her leg which required months’ worth of treatment. Whilst this was ongoing, Keppel searched the property and stole a small amount of cash before both of them then fled on foot.
Investigating officer, DC Hollie Cromarty, of Milton Keynes police station, said: “On 3 November last year, Keppel and Sellars took a taxi ride to Christian Court, clearly with absolutely no intention of paying for the fare. Then just before they ran away, Sellars assaulted the driver – someone who was merely making a living and doing his job.
“Keppel and Sellars then proceeded to enter the home of a woman aged in her seventies, completely uninvited, and took advantage of her good nature in offering what she thought was an innocent woman in a difficult situation the chance to make a phone call.
“These were clearly planned acts by both Keppel and Sellars, which impacted two innocent people, one of which in her own home, where she should have every right to feel safe.
“The investigation was fast moving, with officers quickly establishing a link between both incidents, which resulted in the arrest of Sellars on 6 November, and his charging the next day. Keppel was arrested on 8 November, and charged the next day.
“These were both traumatic incidents for the victims, who I would like to pay tribute to for the bravery and dignity that they showed in helping police with this investigation and bringing Keppel and Sellars to justice.
“I hope that with them both now facing jail terms it will help the victims to move on from these incidents.
“Thames Valley Police will actively pursue individuals such as Keppel and Sellars, who target and take advantage of the good nature of members of our communities and commit these types of crimes.
“They both now have jail terms to reflect on their despicable actions.”