A PAIR of masked men stormed their way into a family’s East Oxford home armed with a ‘massive’ knife demanding money, a court has heard.

Trevor Francis and John McIntyre are accused of blackmailing a young man for £500, during which they made a series of threatening visits last summer to the house he lived in with his mother and siblings.

Their trial began at Oxford Crown Court yesterday with both denying they had ever been to the Saunders Road property.

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As well as one count of blackmail for the armed incident on August 18, 2018, Francis, 40, faces one count of possessing a bladed article in a public place for the same .

McIntyre, 39,  faces one count of blackmail for an earlier alleged threat at the family home on July 3 to the young man’s mother.

Jonathan Stone, opening the case for the prosecution, said the young man had not provided a statement to give ‘context’ to why the two men had targeted him for money but that their threats had been witnessed by others.

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Mr Stone said on July 3 the young man’s mother was at home making dinner at around 5pm when there was a knock on the door and McIntyre, who she recognised, was standing there calling her son’s name.

He added: “He wanted £500 by that night or was coming into the house to ‘get everyone’.” The mother also witnessed, according to the prosecution, Francis come to the home with two others looking for her son and demanding money on August 3, pulling up a balaclava over his face but responding with his name 'stupidly or arrogantly' when asked who he was.

Mr Stone said on each occasion McIntyre and Francis left empty-handed, adding: “We say that led to an escalation with both of them coming on August 18 armed with a knife to reinforce their demand for money.”

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He said the prosecution claim the men, Francis again covering his face with a balaclava and McIntyre with his hood pulled up, pushed their way into the property, which is off Cowley Road, as a family friend was leaving.

They had with them, Mr Stone told the court, a 'pretty menacing' 12-inch knife, initially brought into the house by Francis but then passed between them as they again demanded. A 999 call made by the young man's mother on August 18 was played in court.

In the recording the woman can be heard identifying both men by name as the intruders, shouting at them: “Get out of my f***ing house right now.”

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She added they had a 'big f***ing knife, it's massive."

Both men in police interviews denied they had ever been to the house. Francis said he was with a friend watching DVDs at the time and McIntyre that he was at a wake at Blackbird Leys Community Centre.

The young man’s mother is due to give evidence today as the trial continues.