A millionaire's fiancee was robbed of £100,000 worth of jewellery by a fake tradesman who waged a “campaign of burglary” against wealthy homeowners, a court heard.
Stacey Tomlinson, engaged to Nick Astley, 54, owner of the taxi firm Metro cars of Bolton, was burgled by two robbers who she allowed into her secluded house in Lostock after they claimed to be labourers hired to do guttering work.
The bride-to-be led the thieves around the £1m property to the luxury gems after one threatened to use a “handgun” concealed in his coat pocket if she did not comply.
At one point during the raid, Ms Tomlinson, who is in her 30s, tried to distract her terrified daughters, aged three and three months, from the ordeal by showing them Christmas gifts on her laptop in the living room.
But the older child sobbed, saying: “Mummy I don't like it”, as one of the robbers stroked her hair, Bolton Crown Court was told.
The thieves escaped with 4 rings worth £97,500, including her three carat engagement ring, along with other valuables and CCTV equipment from the house.
No-one was injured during the armed robbery, which occurred around 9am as Ms Tomlinson was preparing her older daughter for nursery last November.
Police later arrested former hotel manager Peter Paradi, 44, after they received a tip he was staying at a rented house 60 miles away in Wrexham.
The court heard the Hungarian national had committed a “campaign of burglary” last Autumn against occupants of luxury homes across the north-west who he believed kept expensive jewellery at their properties.
Passing sentence, Judge Graeme Smith concluded: “At the times of these offences you were only thinking about yourself and you gave no thought at the time to the people whose expensive houses you were targeting.”
“These are people who are now intending to move house because of what has happened. Your selfish acts have had a devastating effect on many lives.”
Paradi's defence counsel said the gun was a toy and he had no intention of harming the victim.
He was jailed for 15 years after admitting to robbery and 11 charges of burglary, three of attempted burglary and making off without payment.
The father-of-one, from Cheetham Hill, will be deported from the UK following his release.
The other suspect is still being hunted in connection with the robbery.