Burglars who posed as police and stamped on mother to snatch puppy and Christmas presents jailed
Three men who dressed up as police officers before violently assaulting a mother during a burglary in which they stole a beloved two-month-old puppy have been jailed for a total of 35 years.
Michael Cloherty, 58, of Orpington, Simon Ludlow, 50, of Mitcham and Michael Cook, 54, of London, attacked the woman in front of her three young children before beating and stamping on her.
This week Cloherty was sentenced to 12 years in prison, Ludlow to 12 years and Cook to 10 years.
It comes after the gang were all found guilty of aggravated burglary following a seven-day trial at Kingston Crown Court on November 9.
Confronting their victim as she was leaving her flat in Arabella Drive, Putney, with her three children on November 29 last year, the men claimed they had come to the property to conduct a drugs search.
The men were wearing caps with the word ‘Police’ on the front whilst carrying friction-lock batons. One of the men also produced a fake ID badge.
Simon Ludlow, 50 from Mitcham pictured after his arrest on suspicion of aggravated burglary
Michael Cook, 54, from London was arrested alongside Ludlow and Cloherty
Michael Cloherty, 58, of Orpington, was one of three criminals who dressed up as police officers in a bid to fool their victims.
The men also snatched this two-month-old American Bulldog puppy in the raid, which took place in front of the women’s three young children.
The woman, aged in her 30s, challenged the men, who then grabbed her around the throat and forced her back inside her home, the Met Police said.
The force added the men attacked her by stamping on and punching her, before tying her hands with cable-ties.
The ruthless gang then stole various items including cash, Christmas gifts and a two-month old female American extra-large bulldog puppy, described as ‘blue Merle’.
Despite the best efforts of officers the female puppy, who would now be 14-months-old, has not yet been found.
The Metropolitan Police tracked the three men to Ludlow’s address, from which the trio set out to attack their victim.
Upon arresting and searching the men’s homes, they recovered critical evidence and later charged all three with aggravated burglary.
Detective Inspector Andy Durham from Specialist Crime South, said: ‘These three individuals have pretended to be police officers to gain entry, before using extreme violence to rob a mother in her family home.
‘They have caused her injuries before stealing her children’s presents and their very young beloved puppy.
‘Tackling violent offenders is a priority for the Met and I am very proud that with the brave support of the victim we were able to bring these violent offenders to justice and achieve sentences commensurate to their offending.’
Detective Inspector Dan Whitten from South West Command Unit, added: ‘This offense involved extensive planning, violence and a disregard for the impact on the vulnerable children present.
‘The offenders clearly posed a wider risk to the public.
‘I am pleased they are no longer in a position to cause such considerable harm and hope their convictions serve to reassure the local community.
‘I’d like to commend the victim for displaying fortitude despite what must have been a terrifying ordeal and the investigating officers for their tenacity in effectively pursuing this investigation to its righteous conclusion.’
Police are continuing to appeal for information regarding the stolen puppy which, despite efforts, remains outstanding.
Anyone who recognizes the dog or anyone who may have been offered an American Bulldog puppy for sale is being asked to contact police by calling 101 and quoting 1837/29NOV21.
The Met added in a statement: ‘Unfortunately, there have been occasions where criminals have posed as police officers, both in person and on the phone.
‘If you are unsure about whether the person you’re dealing with is a genuine police officer – stop – and call us on 101 to check their identity. In an emergency always call 999.