A ROWLEY Regis robber who was in an armed gang that brutally beat up a 68-year-old woman after smashing their way into her Brierley Hill home has been locked up for nine years.

The terrified pensioner was hit on the head with an iron bar while a knife was held to her throat by the gang who got away with jewellery and money from the property in Mill Street.

"They literally tore the house apart" leaving the poor woman who passed out "absolutely traumatised," said Richard Francks, prosecuting.

He told Wolverhampton Crown Court the victim was too frightened to move as the three men, who were dressed all in black, searched the upstairs rooms but she was finally able to get out of the house and alert a neighbour.

The police were alerted and Nathaniel Blackwood-Fox, aged 39, was picked up by investigating officers because he left behind a fingerprint on a box containing a bible, added Mr Francks.

Judge James Burbidge QC told Blackwood-Fox it was accepted he had not carried a weapon or used violence but it was a "joint enterprise" and the woman had been left so shocked she had now moved out of the area.

Blackwood-Fox, who admitted robbery, agreed it must have been a "horrifying" experience for the pensioner as he stressed it had never been his intention to cause her any harm.

"He was hoping to make some easy money," said Richard Davenport, defending.

"It is every householder's nightmare when they are faced with an armed intrusion."

Mr Davenport said Blackwood-Fox, who further admitted cultivating eight cannabis plants at his home in Truro Close, had no previous convictions for violence and he was full of remorse for his actions.

"He thought he would be getting a share of what was taken from the house but in the end he got nothing," he added. "He was having problems with his benefits and that is why he did what he did."

Mr Francks told the court the three robbers - the other men were still being hunted by police - smashed their way through a glass panelled door to get into the house where the woman was home alone.

They managed to escape with three rings valued at over £700, an expensive watch and a wallet containing a number of £50 notes.

The woman sustained a cut to her head as a result of being hit with the iron bar - a wound that had to be treated at hospital.