Family terrorised by robbersBy Mike Pyle
May 15, 2012
Three robbers told a pregnant woman they had killed her husband and threatened her with a hammer in front of her three-year-old son.
Sunna Lock, Carl Pontin and Thomas Birks lured Cristo Chenchev, his heavily pregnant wife Nevana Semcova and their young son from London to Shinfield under the pretence of having some motorbikes to sell.
The three men led Mr Chenchev into a field but, realising he had no money with him, they left him there, went back to his van and threatened Mrs Semcova with a claw hammer before taking a bag of money from her and fleeing.
Pontin, 24, of Heroes Walk in Whitley Wood, a notorious troublemaker previously dubbed the Pied Piper of crime by police, and Lock, 23, of Southcote Road, West Reading, were arrested that night a short distance away.
Birks, 22, of no fixed address but from the Reading area, was arrested at a later date.
Birks and Pontin both admitted robbery but Lock denied the charge and was put on trial at Reading Crown Court.
The court heard how Mr Chenchev picked up his wife and son before going to Shinfield to meet the men, unknown to him, over a deal to buy some motorbikes.
The men led Mr Chenchev on a confusing trip around Shinfield, telling him they were trying to locate the motorbikes as they had been left in a field.
Eventually he parked in Hyde End Road and the men walked him into a nearby field. When he was told it was a 15 minute walk Mr Chenchev decided he was no longer interested in the bikes and turned to head back to his van.
The three men beat him back to the van as Mr Chenchev was not familiar with the area and could not find his way.
Recorder Raj Persaud, summing the case up on Wednesday, May 2 said: “Nevana Semcova told you three males with their faces covered ran towards her in the van.
“A male held the sharp end of a hammer against the side of her head and that male told her they had killed her husband. One of the other males said ‘hit her’ and then the first male reached across her and took the bag from the van.
“All three men then ran away.”
The jury found Lock guilty the following day after less than a day of deliberation.
Lock, Pontin and Birks, all in custody, are due to be sentenced at Reading Crown Court on Friday, June 1.