Judge commends Queensbury woman’s bravery in confronting masked burglary gang

Aaron Barnsley
Aaron Barnsley

A judge has commended a brave Queensbury woman who confronted a gang of masked burglars as they tried to steal a high-value Audi off the driveway of one of her neighbours.

The Recorder of Bradford Judge Jonathan Durham Hall QC said her fortitude in trying to prevent the broad daylight crime last month put us all to shame.

“I’m not only going to commend her I’m going to award her, as a small token of our respect on behalf of the entire neighbourhood, the sum of £350 from public funds,” said the judge.

Bradford Crown Court heard today how prolific offender Aaron Barnsley, 32, and three other criminals, all wearing masks, had smashed their way into the family home before carrying out an untidy search and pocketing cash and a gold and diamond ring of great sentimental value.

Prosecutor Jonathan Sharpe said the gang also grabbed a key fob for the Audi vehicle parked outside and Barnsley tried to drive off in it.

The court heard that following a previous burglary the householders had fitted a metal security pole in the middle of the driveway, but Barnsley tried to get round it by driving over a grassed slope.

After he hit a neighbour’s car and got stuck the outraged local resident ran over and banged on the Audi shouting at the men to stop.

During the confrontation one of the burglars shouted to an accomplice to “get the axe”.

Mr Sharpe said another male neighbour started taking photograohs of the incident, but he was threatened with violence and forced to back off.

Barnsley ended up causing significant damage to the Audi as he finally drove it away and the car was later abandoned.

Today/yesterday Barnsley, of Broadstone Way, Holme Wood, Bradford, was jailed for 45 months after he admitted two charges of house burglary and one of aggravated vehicle taking.

The court heard that the day before the Queensbury break-in Barnsley and an accomplice kicked in the rear door of a home in Liversedge and stole property including three valuable watches and a laptop computer.

Jailing Barnsley, who had 100 offences on his record, Judge Durham Hall said he had been moving up the league of offending and had now gone into the Premier League.

At the time of the burglaries Barnsley was still on licence after being given a three-year jail sentence in 2016 for dangerous driving and assault.