Two masked robbers caught when one was recognised by ex-girlfriend

Two masked robbers are jailed after victim recognised one as her EX-BOYFRIEND from his eyes and voice

  • Lee Murphy, 22, and Oliver Bowles, 22, targeted family home in Tonbridge, Kent
  • But hooded Bowles’s identity was unmasked when ex-girlfriend recognised him
  • She demanded he leave the home and then called the police and he was arrested
  • Bowles, of Kent, and Murphy, also of Kent, both jailed for aggravated burglary 

Two armed raiders were unmasked when the victim recognised one as her ex-boyfriend, a court heard.  

Robbers Lee Murphy and Oliver Bowles were part of a three-strong gang hunting for cash when they targeted a family home in Tonbridge, Kent.  

But despite wearing hoods and covering their faces with bandanas, Bowles’s identity was revealed by the victim’s daughter.

She made eye contact with the 22-year-old, heard his voice and instantly recognised him as her former partner.

The woman bravely grabbed the knife Bowles was wielding and ordered him out of the house, before phoning the police.  

Bowles, of Shipbourne Road, Tonbridge, Kent, was arrested the next day and admitted aggravated burglary and having a bladed article.  


Bowles (pictured left), of Shipbourne Road, Tonbridge, Kent, was arrested the next day and admitted aggravated burglary and having a bladed article. Murphy (pictured right), 22, of Bondfield Close, Tunbridge Wells, Kent, also admitted aggravated burglary and having a bladed article following his arrest in July

He was subsequently jailed in June for seven years.

Bowles has now been joined behind bars by Murphy after he was sentenced on Thursday to five years and eight months’ imprisonment.

Murphy, 22, of Bondfield Close, Tunbridge Wells, Kent, also admitted aggravated burglary and having a bladed article following his arrest in July.

Maidstone Crown Court heard raid took place in the family home of Paul Noblett in Tonbridge, Kent, on January 28.  

Prosecutor Mike Hollis said the gang, who struck around 9pm, forced their way in and demanded money after Mr Noblett opened the front door.

Both Bowles and Murphy were armed with knives and threats were made to stab him.

‘They had hoods on and were wearing bandanas to cover their faces. Bowles was recognised by Kelly Noblett as they had previously been partners,’ said Mr Hollis. 

‘He reacted in a way to suggest he knew he had been recognised by shouting “F***ing hell, f***ing hell” while keeping his head down.’ 

After being recognised, Bowles, fled with his two accomplices, having stolen £290 cash and a pouch of Rothman tobacco

A safe was also stolen but later recovered.

Police then went to his home just a four-minute walk away, only to be told by his mum he was out with friends – and two of her kitchen knives were missing. 

Bowles, a qualified carpenter with previous convictions for theft, burglary and possessing a knife, denied all knowledge of the raid when arrested.

Bowles, a qualified carpenter with previous convictions for theft, burglary and possessing a knife, denied all knowledge of the raid when arrested, Maidstone Crown Court heard

His barrister later described his crime as ‘amateurish and incredibly foolish’.

Murphy, who has 15 previous convictions for 30 offences and was subject to a conditional discharge for shoplifting at the time, was identified through CCTV footage.

The court heard he did not ‘initiate’ the raid and had no prior knowledge of the occupants.

Tom Stern, defending, said Murphy was homeless at the time, a drug user since his early teens, and ‘drifting in no direction’.

As well as their prison terms, both Bowles and Murphy were given indefinite restraining orders banning any contact with Miss Noblett or going to her address.

The third intruder has not been identified.

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