Disgruntled supermarket boss threatened to cut man's head off with metre-long machete during armed robbery

Disgruntled supermarket boss threatened to cut man's head off with metre-long machete during armed robbery

Lidl, where armed machete robber James Tomlinson was a deputy manager

Jailed: machete burglar James Tomlinson

First published in News
Last updated
The Bolton News: Photograph of the Author Exclusive by , crime reporter

A SUPERMARKET boss has been jailed after he threatened families with a metre-long machete in two terrifying armed burglaries.

James Tomlinson burst into two family homes with a gang of masked raiders after he was disciplined in his job as a deputy manager at a Lidl store.

The 33-year-old left a trail of his blood at homes in Sumner Street, Atherton, and Wigan Road, Westhoughton, and handed himself into police before he was arrested.

Jonathan Dickinson, prosecuting, said Tomlinson, who did not have his face covered when he carried out the aggravated burglaries, went into the terraced house in Atherton with three men.

They wore balaclavas and walked through an unlocked door at about 8pm on January 16.

Victims Sian Metcalfe, her partner Scott Brides, their friend Todd Rushworth and the couple’s two children — a boy, aged five, and a three-week-old baby — were in when the burglary happened.

Tomlinson said “listen love I know you have a baby” to Ms Metcalfe before he threatened both men and demanded money and credit cards.

He struck Mr Brides with a glass coffee jar, which cut his head and ear.

Both men were told to lie face down while they were kicked.


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Tomlinson told Mr Rushworth he would “cut his hands off” unless he was told where the money was.

The burglars fled with an iPad and a phone.

Bolton Crown Court heard Tomlinson, of Charnwood Road, Blackley, and two men in balaclavas, stormed into the terraced home in Westhoughton at about 11.30pm.

Siobhan McCormick and Darren Barton were in the living room while their children, aged five and four were sleeping when the men burst in.

Tomlinson was holding a machete about a metre in length.

He hit Mr Barton with the handle of the machete and told him “I will cut your head off if you mess me about”.

A Playstation and a mobile phone were stolen. Tomlinson told the couple not to call police as he knew where they lived.

David Temkin, defending, said the crimes were “extremely out of character” for Tomlinson, a father to a 10-year-old son.

The court heard he started drinking after he was given a disciplinary at work and later became involved in the aggravated burglaries.

He has previous convictions but nothing similar.

Judge Elliot Knopf, sentencing, said: “The crimes present a very horrifying and very worrying picture of someone who seems to have been actively involved in these two matters, taking a proactive and lead role rather than hanging back and letting others to make the running.

"This was by someone who is said to be a dedicated family man and a hardworking fellow.”

Tomlinson was jailed for a total of 13 years after he admitted two counts of aggravated burglary. The other men have not been arrested.

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