Man sentenced after attempted robbery in Wickford

A man who forced his way into a woman’s home before demanding money has been jailed for six years after pleading guilty to attempted robbery.

Eugene Solari, 53, had conducted online research to identify the home address of someone selling a high-value watch.

The seller had left details of his former address, in Wickford, on social media, with new occupants since moving in.

Solari visited the home in August 2020, pushing his way in and threatening the occupant with what he claimed was acid in a small bottle.

He demanded money or the watch.

The occupant fled the address, with Solari leaving via the front door.

Upon leaving the property, he was confronted by the victim’s husband who had just arrived on the driveway.

A scuffle followed and Solari left his glasses at the scene, before fleeing in a car driven by accomplice Richard Forward, 57, of Warwick Drive, Rochford.

Five minutes later police were in pursuit.

The vehicle failed to stop for officers and was driven the wrong way along the A127.

Forward remained with the vehicle and was arrested, while Solari fled on foot.

He was later identified from DNA evidence left on his glasses at the scene.

The victim was able to positively identify Solari and high-quality CCTV footage was recovered at the scene.

In a statement, the victim said: “I feel this incident has changed me and I feel more cautious when interacting with strangers.

“I am more aware of my surroundings, and I feel uncomfortable around people I do not know.”

Appearing at Basildon Crown Court for sentence last month, Solari, of Southchurch Road, Southend, was sentenced to six years imprisonment.

Forward admitted one count of dangerous driving and was sentenced to eight months imprisonment, suspended for 18 months, at the same court on Friday July 14.

He will remain the subject of a curfew for three months and was banned from driving for 12 months, with an extended retest before he can drive again.