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Young mum's attackers found guilty
10:55am Friday 24th August 2012 in New Forest
IT was one of the most terrifying crimes any homeowner could imagine.
A defenceless young mum answered a knock on the door expecting it to be gas workers, only for the men standing there to pin her to the floor while they ransacked her home – all while her baby son played just yards away.
Matthew Harfield and Jamie Dalton stole £2,000 during the burglary in Testwood Lane in Totton .
They are both facing lengthy spells behind bars after a jury found them guilty of carrying out the vicious raid.
Mum-of-two Louise Henning feared she would be raped as she was wrestled to the floor by the masked men, one of whom was brandishing a gun.
The court heard that during the struggle she bit the man so hard that as he pulled his finger away he loosened three of her teeth. She then spat blood over one of her attacker’s shoes to mark him with her DNA – an idea that succeeded.
She was told to reveal the whereabouts of the couple’s safe and one of the men took her to the kitchen to wash her hands as he was worried she may have his DNA under her nails.
Mrs Henning was so shaken that she was unable to pick up her child and, once the burglars had fled, it took several attempts for her to call her husband Luke, a self-employed builder.
Clumps of her hair had been pulled out and she had to be treated for bruising.
The family told police they had no idea why they were targeted.
Two days later armed officers arrested Matthew Harfield as he drove a van through Eastleigh . Inside were two high-visibility jackets similar to those described by Mrs Henning and her blood was later found on his shoes.
His accomplice Jamie Dalton was arrested 11 days later.
Harfield, 35, of no fixed abode, and Dalton, 21, of Kingsdown Way, Southampton , denied aggravated burglary and possessing an imitation firearm with intent to cause fear of violence.
Harfield claimed he did not enter the house and that he had never met Dalton before the case. Dalton did not give evidence.
Jurors took five hours to decide unanimously that they were guilty of all charges. The pair will be sentenced at a later date following the completion of a pre-sentence report The officer in charge of the case, Detective Constable Mark Edis, said: “This was an absolutely terrifying incident for Mrs Henning, who was at home with her young child.
“These two men put her through an awful ordeal but as a result of our investigation they are now behind bars.
“I’d like to praise Mrs Henning for her bravery at the time of the incident and during the trial.”
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