A pregnant woman who found a man stealing from her car was threatened with a meat cleaver.

Ryan Graham Richards, 43, was tackled by her pet dog and dragged out of the BMW car by his sleeve.

A court heard how the victim’s partner heard her screaming and ran to her aid.

He was able to overpower Richards and pin him down until the police arrived – but not before he had been threatened with a hammer.

Richards, of Alexander House in New Broughton, Wrexham, who claimed he could not remember anything of the incident after he had taken alcohol and sleeping tablets, was jailed for two years and eight months.

Judge Niclas Parry told him he was responsible for a string of offences on October 13.

Richards admitted burglary, theft, possessing a blade and possessing the hammer as an offensive weapon.

The burglary occurred at a house in New Broughton where he stole a woman’s purse while she slept.

Then there was an extremely serious offence when he confronted a heavily pregnant woman Emma Nash with a meat cleaver, also in New Broughton.

He then tried to use a hammer, which he produced from his waistband, on Ashley Kitchen, the partner of the pregnant woman,  who was restraining him.

Judge Parry said Richards was clearly out with a woman who was acting as a decoy for him.

A woman and her partner returned home to find him in her BMW car and property from the vehicle had been removed.

When confronted, he produced a meat cleaver.

Fortunately, her partner heard her scream and ran to help her.

“He saw you running towards her brandishing a meat cleaver.”

Judge Parry said the man was able to retrain him and throw the cleaver away.

“You continued to struggle and produced a hammer from your waistband,” the judge told Mold Crown Court, adding the effect of his actions had been considerable. 

The woman had considered moving house and they had spent a lot of money on additional security.

The court heard Richards was acting under the influence of an excessive amount of alcohol and some 20 tablets which meant he was not in control of what he was doing.

Barrister Elen Owen, prosecuting, said Miss Nash was returning home with her dog when she found Richards in the BMW.

“The dog grabbed Richards by the sleeve and pulled him out of the car,” she explained.

The victim screamed at him, asking what he was doing in her

He reached into his jacket and pulled out a meat cleaver.

Mr Kitchen, a gym user and a well-built young man, was able to overpower him “and the dog also got involved,” Ms Owen explained.

Richards was disarmed, the cleaver was taken off him and thrown to one side, but he then produced the hammer.

John Hedgecoe, defending, said Richards had been out of trouble for the last eight years and had been working as a self-employed plasterer.

He suffered from anxiety and depression, but was seeking to blame no-one but himself.

The defendant had quite a lot to drink, had also taken sleeping tablets, and expected to wake up in his bed that morning.

But he had woken up in a police cell and had no recollection about what had occurred.

Something very odd had occurred that night before the offences were committed, said Mr Hedgecoe.

“This is a very strange case,” he said. 

“He is taking it on the chin. He does not really understand it all, but he will take his medicine.”

It was the defendant’s firm instructions that he was alone and that the woman was not a decoy.

Following the sentencing hearing Det Insp Mark Hughes at Wrexham CID said “When an individual invades your home and steals property, it is not uncommon for victims to feel violated.

“It is therefore reassuring and welcoming that the Criminal Justice System shares our concern and imposes custodial sentences on those few intent on disrupting and disregarding the lives of others.

“Richards is a prolific offender and his incarceration will I’m sure bring a degree of relief to many in the local community as well as his last victims.

“Wrexham is a safer place with him behind bars.”