A MAN who robbed a terrified householder of his car keys at knifepoint then smashed the vehicle into a tree has been jailed for seven and a half years.

Ricky Ramsden, from the Frizinghall area of Bradford, was caught on CCTV checking that the £15,000 Ford Fiesta was parked outside the flat in Parkwood Court, Keighley, before banging on the door at dead of night, Bradford Crown Court heard yesterday.

Prosecutor Andrew Horton said Ramsden knew the owner of the car and had previously proposed a “crash for cash” deal that his victim had rejected.

Ramsden, dressed in grey, hammered on his door at 1am on September 22.

He pretended to want a cigarette to trick the man into letting him in, the court heard.

Ramsden, 24, of Frizley Gardens, barged his way into the property, grabbed the man by his dressing gown and held a kitchen knife to his face.

He demanded the car keys, threatening to stab his victim and his girlfriend, the court heard.

He told the man he was desperate, and it was nothing personal, Mr Horton said.

Ramsden drove away in the car but wrecked it when he crashed into a tree shortly afterwards in the Manningham area of Bradford.

The collision took place in Oak Avenue, which runs between the main A650 Keighley Road and North Avenue.

Mr Horton said the police were alerted to the accident in which the vehicle was written off. Ramsden fled the scene, leaving the knife in the footwell.

He was arrested in Keighley wearing the same grey clothing in which he had committed the robbery.

The inflated air bag in the car had his DNA on it, the court was told.

Ramsden persisted in denying that he was involved until his case reached the crown court.

Mr Horton said the robbery victim had been “absolutely petrified” during the ordeal and was sure he would be stabbed.

He had been left stressed, anxious and paranoid.

It also emerged that the incident had worsened the mental health problems he had battled over the years.

Ramsden, who pleaded guilty to robbery and aggravated vehicle taking, had 14 previous convictions for 29 offences.

He had previously been locked up as a “three strikes” house burglar.

His barrister, Stephen Wood, said: “He has pleaded guilty with no silly basis of plea to minimise his culpability.”

Ramsden had been staying in the block of flats with his girlfriend but left after an argument.

During the robbery, he had almost apologised to his victim.

There was no element of sophistication to the offences and Ramsden had no previous convictions for violence.

He had a partner and a young child and the court was told that he hoped to use his time behind bars to gain qualifications to make a better life for himself.

The Recorder of Bradford, Judge Jonathan Durham Hall QC, said he was sentencing Ramsden for a knifepoint robbery of a man in his own home in which he had threatened to stab his victim and his girlfriend.

“It is a dreadfully serious matter, as you know,” he told Ramsden, who had been held in custody awaiting sentence.

The robbery victim had “proudly owned” his £15,000 car until Ramsden used a ruse to gain admission to his home in the early hours of the morning.

The victim had suffered financially from the loss of his vehicle and the robbery had caused his mental health problems to worsen.

Ramsden was banned from driving for four years and nine months.