A MASKED armed robber, who left three terrified women in his trail - including a pensioner cornered in a kitchen - has been put behind bars for ten years.

Lee Miller viciously attacked one of his victims - who had been happily wrapping Christmas presents when he arrived - after she refused to hand over her car keys and they were all threatened during his determined efforts to steal two expensive high powered cars.

Judge Robert Warnock ruled that the 20-year-old is a dangerous offender and imposed an extended three year licence meaning that Miller will have to serve six years eight months before he can apply for parole.

Christopher Hopkins, prosecuting, told Liverpool Crown Court that Miller, whose previous convictions include burglary, struck at a home in Birkenhead, at about 8pm on December 4 last year.

She heard the sound of a car and motor bike and on answering a knock at her door was confronted by Miller wearing a full face motor cycle helmet with the visor down and dressed all in black.

He told her to call her husband but she told him she did not have a husband and he pulled out a sheath knife from his jacket pocket. She slammed shut the front door and rushed into the lounge to close the window but Miller was already halfway through it and demanded her key fob.

He told her, ‘You’ve got ten seconds or nasty shit is going to happen’, and he started counting down from ten while she rushed to fetch the fob for her one-year-old BMW M2 worth £53,000.

She handed Miller, who was still hanging through the window, the fob and after he left she rang the police and saw her car, with the rear registration plate removed, being driven off by Miller and followed by a motorcycle.

The cyclist fell off in a neighbouring street and the machine left there as police arrived before he could get back on and the BMW was found abandoned later in Birkenhead. A Peugeot car arrived to collect the motorbike and when it was stopped by police Miller was found inside as were two knives.

Miller, who was on licence from detention having only been released about six months earlier, was arrested and released on bail.

Less than three weeks later, at 7.20 pm on December 23, he struck again at a home in Moreton, a woman found her kitchen window had been opened and the cat flap damaged.

She went outside and saw the gate to her driveway and the side gate were open and two men were standing by her Audi S3 Cabriolet, worth £28,000.

She challenged them and Miller, who was wearing a balaclava and appeared to be holding a weapon, “grabbed hold of her, shouting ‘get the car keys’, said Mr Hopkins.

They scuffled and she broke free and ran into her home but was unable to shut the front door as he was kicking at it. She ran to get her car keys and held them in her hand and was confronted by both men.

Mrs Jones managed to flee towards a neighbour’s home “screaming and banging on the windows for help and also heard her mother inside her house screaming. She had been cornered in the kitchen.

“The defendant shouted that he had a knife and agains said ‘give me the car keys’. She later said ‘I felt a sharp pain to my chest, like I had been stabbed’.

“She was then knocked to the ground by the defendant and the second male was shouting, ’punch her, f…ing punch her’. She felt blows to the side of her head from the defendant and he was also stamping on her hand to try to get her to release the keys.”

Her screams had alerted the neighbour who came out and heard someone shouting that he had a gun. Meanwhile she continued to struggle with the defendant trying to bury the car keys into the gravel.”

Eventually the neighbour’s husband arrived and the two would-be robbers fled in a BMW. He was arrested on January 4 and was found to have bite marks on his left hand and forearm where one victim had bitten him while they struggled on the ground.

In her impact statement she said that the robbers had held her 71-year-old mother hostage and she has since had medical problems including Bells Palsy brought on by stress.

She herself had physical injuries having been punched in the face and hit in the abdomen and ribs with some sort of implement and knocked to the ground. She has also suffered psychologically and needed counselling.

She told how she had to spend £1000 on repairs to her home and another £1000 on extra security and has had to give up her job as a Marie Curie carer after 27 years and is fearful in her own home.

In her impact statement the victim told how she has also been left traumatised and out of pocket as damage to her car cost £2,000 which she paid herself along with £400 for damage to her window blind.

She felt too scared to stay in her own home and moved in with her partner until June and then got him to move in with her. She now is “hyper-vigilant” and suspicious and has had to take medication for anxiety and depression.

She said that the incident “has badly affected my quality of life and it will live with me forever. I would say it is life changing.”

Miller, of no fixed address but from Wirral, pleaded guilty to robbery, attempted robbery and handing a stolen Audi, worth £37,000 on January 8 this year. He was seen driving it and when it was later found there were two knives and a baseball bat inside.

He also had three other handling offences, involving stolen motorcycles in September and October, taken into account.

David Polglase, defending, said, “He has frightened himself how he behaved.”

The offences were committed because of drugs and drug debts and he realises how wrong his behaviour had been. He suffers from ADHD and lacks maturity but has been making progress while in custody.