A City fund manager and his wife told of their terror when an armed gang masquerading as police officers burst into their family home and attacked him.
Thomas Hogh, a successful portfolio manager at Capital Group, was at home with his family on a Bank Holiday Monday evening when their ordeal began.
A gang of six thugs planned to rob the “substantial” family home by sticking a ‘police’ sign on a private ambulance and pretending they had been called to a disturbance, Maidstone Crown Court heard.
Two of the gang arrived in the vehicle at the Hogh family home in Sevenoaks, Kent, just before 10pm on May 1st, 2017, wearing high-visibility jackets and told the occupants through the intercom that they were investigating a disturbance
But as soon as the family opened the electric gates, four masked accomplices jumped out from an alley, wearing balaclavas and armed with what appeared to be a sawn-off shotgun.
However, their plot were thwarted wen Mr Hogh’s wife, Inge, set off a loud panic alarm causing the gang to flee.
Mrs Hogh, who was at her home with her husband, their twin 18-year-old daughters, and 21-year-old son, gave evidence from behind a screen.
She said she had been downstairs just moments before the raid, but when up to her room because she had a bad cough.
She said: “When the call came I answered in the bedroom.
” I told them they must be wrong, it couldn’t be, I have just seen all my family.
“I told my husband to see what the police wanted to do. I looked down from the balcony and my husband opened the door.
“I just remember a big tall guy attacked my husband, he flew over my husband. I have never seen such a big man.
“My husband flew over towards the staircase – I thought I was the worst thing I have ever seen.”
Mrs Hogh ran into her bedroom and hit “the only panic button in the house”.
She said: “I could hear ‘bang bang bang’ coming up the stairs. I thought they were after me right away.
“I went into the wardrobe, grabbed my phone and called the police.”
Mr Hogh was standing by the front door of his home in affluent Wildernesse Avenue to greet the two ‘officers’ when the rest of gang “burst” in.
Giving evidence from behind a screen, Mr Hogh said: “Four men dressed in balaclavas basically piled in – it was very quick.
“When I opened the door the first person was much taller than me, a very tall man.
“He was looking down on me, he pushed me back into the entrance.
“They just burst in and two people pushed up the stairs on my right – the speed with which they ran up the stairs was pretty amazing.
“I looked to the right and saw a person with a shotgun. He was holding it and pointing it up.”
The court heard as soon as the alarm went off, all the raiders left, which Mr Hogh said he was “extraordinarily pleased” about but added that when the real police arrived “the first concern was if they were real or not”.
Mr Hogh added that he “didn’t know what they would do” when they found out he would “hardly” have been able to “scrape together £100” cash.
He said: “My job involves moving large amounts of money electronically – we do not work in cash.
“I didn’t know what would happen when they discovered we could hardly have scraped £100 together.
“We don’t have cash lying around. In my safe they would have found my certificates from when I graduated university and high school. They would have been disappointed with that.”
Nicholas Hamill, 35, Malcolm Maxted, 45, and Joseph Mezen, 28 are on trial accused of conspiracy to rob and possessing an imitation firearm with intent.
A fourth man, John Moys, 45, of Old Tree, Hoath, near Canterbury, was part of the gang and pleaded guilty to conspiracy to rob and the imitation firearm offence.
A fifth man, Ronnie Mead, 30, of Lucerne Drive, Seasalter, denies assisting an offender by setting fire to the ambulance – it is alleged he burnt out the vehicle two days later after being directed and paid to do so by Hamill.
It was said that Hamill, who owns a medical supplies firm and ran a company called Southern England Ambulance Service, bought the vehicle with Moys under a fake name on March 21, just over five weeks before the raid attempt.
The disguised ambulance, a Skoda Octavia often used by private ambulance firms, also had fake number plates. The vehicle was found burnt out two days later on farmland in Nottinghamshire.
The court heard Mead had been “tasked” by Hamill, who paid him hundreds of pounds, to drive to Sevenoaks and retrieve the police sign which had fallen off the ambulance as they fled.
The court heard the accused were all in contact via text messages in the days following the attempted raid.
The trial continues.
By Grainne Cuffe