A knife wielding burglar who stole cash and cigarettes after forcing his way into a home in Tonbridge has been sentenced to almost six years in prison

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Lee Murphy was part of a trio of thieves who, wearing balaclavas, burst into a property before making threats to harm the occupants. They knocked on the front door of the flat, in Trench Road, at around 8.45pm on 28 January 2020. When the door was answered the men barged their way inside, before threatening the victims, by waving around large kitchen knives.


Murphy, of Bondfield Close, Tunbridge Wells, was initially arrested on 31 January, but then released under investigation as officers sought to secure the evidence needed to build a successful case. An investigation would later clearly link him to the crime scene and officers were tasked with arresting him again, in order to press charges.


The 22-year-old eluded police for several months. He made taunts during phone conversations to officers to ‘catch me if you can’. His luck ran out on 24 July, when he was located by patrols searching for him in an area of Tunbridge Wells. He attempted to resist arrest and whilst being restrained was alleged to have pushed his fingers into an officer’s eyes.


At Maidstone Crown Court, Murphy pleaded guilty to aggravated burglary and possessing a knife in a public place. He denied a further charge of assaulting an emergency worker, which the court ordered to lie on file. On Thursday 26 November, Murphy was sentenced to five years and six months’ imprisonment.


An accomplice on the night of the burglary was previously jailed earlier this year. Oliver Bowles pleaded guilty to aggravated burglary and possession of a knife in a public place. On 12 June, he received a custodial sentence of seven years.


DC David Evans of the Chief Constable’s Crime Squad said: ‘This was a targeted and planned burglary during which these men subjected their victims to a truly terrifying ordeal. Murphy is a dangerous and prolific criminal who has shown little regard for the fear and distress his actions have caused his victims. Honest hard working members of society should not be subject to his violent behaviour and so it is pleasing to see justice has been served, with what is a significant prison sentence.’