Wife of man who died fleeing burglary: ‘Danny was the love of my life’
Victim impact statement: 'I would do anything to have him back with us today'
28 August, 2019 — By Samantha Booth
Sheiku Adams, also known as Danny
THE widow of a man who died after jumping out of the window when their family home was burgled has detailed the emotional turmoil she has been through as three people were jailed for their involvement this week.
Sheiku Adams, 50, known as Danny to those close to him, was trying to escape after two men, one armed with a knife, broke into the flat at Denyer House in Highgate Road, Kentish Town, last October. Neil Allen, 26, Jamie Cohen, 34, and Stephanie Haughton, 35, all from Wolverhampton, were found not guilty of manslaughter at trial earlier this year.
But, Mr Cohen and Ms Haughton were found guilty of burglary by a jury, while Allen had pleaded guilty to aggravated burglary.
Kerry Adams, the dead man’s wife who witnessed the incident unfold, said in an impact statement, read to the Old Bailey this week: “It’s been very hard for me, Danny, the love my life, has been my world for 23 years. I went to our flat recently to collect our belongings and sort things out.”
Mrs Adams’ words were read out to the courtroom by prosecutor Fraser Coxhill.
She had written: “When I walked into the flat I literally broke down, I was in bits for hours. I emotionally broke down, shaking and sobbing, I would say I was hysterical, it was totally crushing. I visit Danny’s grave every week, I sit there and talk to him, I tell him that I still love and miss him very much and I would do anything to have him back with us today.”
Mrs Adams said she now suffers nightmares and struggles to sleep.
About giving evidence, she said: “I was terrified of giving evidence. “There were lots of questions in my head that made me feel very anxious. Are we still at risk? Could this happen again? What were they really looking for and why did they have to do it in the way they did?”
Jamie Cohen, Neil Allen and Stephanie Haughton have been jailed
Muhammed Badrul, iman at Kentish Town Baitul Aman Mosque in Weedington Road, said in a statement how Mr Adams was a regular attender at the mosque and added: “He had a calming influence on the younger men and was able to resolve any sort of conflict in a calm manner, by talking and having their respect.”
Judge Anuja Dhir QC told the court heard how on October 25 last year, each played a part in a “planned and organised burglary” at Mr Adams’ home. Mr Adams was with his family at home when Mr Allen and Mr Cohen kicked in the front door.
Mr Allen was brandishing a five-inch kitchen knife pointing it at Mr Adams shouting “where is the bag?” while Cohen was searching around the flat. Mr Adams then climbed on the sofa and “in an attempt to escape jumped out of the window”.
Nothing was taken from the flat and the defendants then left and went back to the Midlands.
Mr Adams died in hospital as a result of his injuries.
Ms Haughton had been waiting in a car outside but had been accused of helping to organise the burglary.
Judge Dhir said: “This was not a random burglary. You all travelled to London from Birmingham in a car driven by a fourth person with the specific intention of carrying out this burglary.”
She added: “I’m satisfied that there was a particular reason why you targeted Sheiku Adams’ home. The item which you were after was not identified at the trial but evidence suggested it was either a weapon of some description, drugs or proceeds of drug deals.”
She added: “Two men entering as you did would have been particularly frightening.”
Mr Allen, who had the knife, was serving a suspended sentence order for possession of a weapon in a public place at the time of the burglary.
Sentencing him to 11 years and 26 weeks, Judge Dhir said: “You were not the organiser of the burglary but you understood yourself to be collecting a debt as a favour for a friend.”
She said he showed “some remorse” and a medical report showed he had some factors of post traumatic stress disorder from the incident. Cohen, who ransacked the flat, was sentenced to four years in jail. He had 37 criminal convictions since he was 15, in most recent years of driving and drug possession offences.
He told the court during the trial he denied involvement in a plan to “collect a debt”. Judge Dhir said he had shown some remorse and added: “I accept that you were not armed with a knife and that you did not know that Mr Allen had a knife until he had produced it.”Haughton, a mother-of-two who has no previous convictions, was labelled by the judge as the “coordinator” of the burglary and was sentenced to two-and-a-half years in jail.
Judge Dhir said: “You have shown no remorse, you continued to minimise your involvement in this offence.”
Another woman, who was also charged with manslaughter, aggravated burglary and burglary, was acquitted by the jury.