Teen admits theft of £6,000 from 98-year-old woman

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A 17-year-old charged with stealing £6,000 from a 98-year-old woman who was taken to hospital after the incident now accepts his full guilt.

The development emerged at Antrim Magistrates Court on Tuesday where the youth, who cannot be named because of his age, appeared via video link from the Woodlands Juvenile Justice Centre.

The youth from Antrim town initially appeared Ballymena Magistrates Court on Saturday where it was heard he was denying charges following the alleged distraction-type burglary.

On Saturday a police officer objected to bail and said the 98-year-old who lives alone was taken to hospital after an incident in the Illustrious Court area of Antrim town which was reported to police at 1am on Friday.

The policeman said the woman was still in hospital for observations on Saturday morning.

The youth faces seven charges including burglary with intent to steal at Illustrious Court; theft of a wallet from a man; two charges of interfering with vehicles; assaulting police; criminal damage to a police car and attempted criminal damage to the window of a police vehicle.

At Antrim Court on Tuesday defence barrister Neil Moore said when arrested the teenager made denials but is “now fully accepting his guilt” and wants to be re-interviewed by police to make full admissions.

Mr Moore also revealed that over the weekend the teen’s family home was “approached by a group of men” and threats were made.

Mr Moore said the teen’s mother and father were told they were “no longer welcome in the Antrim area” and an approach has now been made to be re-homed.

Mr Moore said the teenager has written a letter of apology to the 98-year-old.

District Judge Peter King said that “cuts little mustard”.

The judge asked about the condition of the victim and a prosecutor said as on Saturday she was still in hospital but he had not heard if she is out.

The case was adjourned until next Tuesday.

Objecting to bail at Saturday’s court a police officer said that at 12.10am on Friday police received a call that a male was “trying car doors” in the Ajax Court area of Antrim and two cars were entered and a wallet taken from one.

A youth whose clothing matched the description was arrested at Ballymena Road, Antrim and became aggressive, assaulting police and head butted a vehicle and also spat in the vehicle.

The officer said whilst the youth was in custody at Antrim PSNI Station a report came in that a 98-year-old woman who lives alone said a male pushed past her and had stolen three envelopes containing £6,000 in cash from her handbag.

During a search of the youth in custody police found envelopes containing cash.

The officer said a person known to the youth told police the accused had told him he had gone to an old woman’s house and “grabbed her by the throat” but then said he was only “pulling his leg”.

The officer said the other person said the youth then claimed he had asked the woman for a glass of water before he stole money.

The officer said during a police interview the accused said he was given the money by a man. The officer said that man denied giving him money.

The officer objected to bail saying there was a risk of re-offending and that the youth has 17 previous convictions from April 2015 until now including six for burglary and three for theft.

Given the age of the alleged victim in the Illustrious Court incident, along with her frailty and her health issues the officer believed there could be a risk of interfering with witnesses.

The officer said the youth was on police bail at the time of the alleged offence and said he had breached a curfew five times and also breached an Anti-Social Behaviour Order five times.

The officer said the youth is currently being dealt with by the police’s Reducing Offending Unit.

Defence barrister Mark Gribbin told Saturday’s court his client was fully aware of the serious offences against him and said if released on bail he would be willing to report to police daily and wear a monitoring tag and he could live with his brother in Antrim town.

The defence lawyer said his client denied the charges again him.

Refusing bail on Saturday , District Judge Amanda Brady said she was satisfied the police objections to bail were well founded and given his record there was a risk the accused could re-offend.

She said he did not have a suitable bail address and had shown in the past he had not adhered to court orders.