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JAILED: Armed thug who threatened and tied up student - by mistake
5:32pm Thursday 7th March 2013 in News
A man burst his his way into a house in Southampton where they tied up and threatened a man mistakenly believing it was linked to drugs.
But when they realised they had targeted the wrong address the attackers apologised to their victim and fled.
Today Hiram Braithwaite is behind bars after he was sentenced to seven years in prison when he broke in and tied up the occupant of the house.
The aggravated burglary was the first case to be investigated by the Operation Fortress team in a campaign launched in May last year to tackle drug-related violence.
Braithwaite and another man, who has not been identified, targeted the home on Wilton Avenue thinking it was involved in a rival drug supply network.
They used black tape to cover the 20-year-old victim’s eyes and bind his hands and feet. The other man carried a 30cm long knife.
When they realised it was a student home and they had the wrong address they apologised, damaged the victim’s mobile phone and left.
DC Liam Cook from the Operation Fortress team said: “This was a terrifying ordeal for the young man in what was ultimately a case of mistaken identity.
“Our enquiries led us to Braithwaite’s property in London where we recovered evidence including seven knives and a revolver air pistol with cartridges.
“He claimed he had been paid to drive from London to Southampton but our investigation proved he played a leading role in the offence.
“His sentencing is a warning to others that through Operation Fortress we aim to make Southampton a hostile place for drug dealers and people who come here and make life unpleasant for others.”
Braithwaite, 55, of Moray Road, London, was arrested and charged with aggravated burglary and possession of a firearm.
He pleaded not guilty and was sentenced at Southampton Crown Court on February 21 to seven years in prison having been found guilty at an earlier hearing.