A 36-year-old man was on Wednesday found guilty of robbing a mobile phone from a Queen’s University student at knifepoint.
Adrian Naylor, from Greenway Road in the Widnes area of Cheshire, was unanimously convicted by a jury of robbing a Motorola MotoG phone from the first year student who was making his way home to Elms Village along the Malone Road in the early hours of October 1 last year.
In a two-day trial held at Belfast Crown Court, the student said he was walking home when he struck up a conversation with Naylor who was playing a guitar in the Lennoxvale area of the Malone Road.
During the conversation, the man told the student his name was Adrian, and that the student took his mobile out and used a guitar tuning app on the phone to try and get a better sound from the instrument.
The pair also talked about the leather jacket the man with the guitar was wearing which at one point the student tried on, and after around 10 minutes of chatting, the student resumed his walk back to Elm Village.
It was at this point that Naylor brandished a kitchen knife and demanded the student hand over his phone. Once the phone was handed over, Naylor walked off in the direction of Botanic Inn.
The jury of seven men and five women heard that, following the theft, the student alerted security staff at Queen’s about what had happened.
Police were informed and Naylor was apprehended in Wellington Park. Whilst no knife was found, the stolen phone was located in a garden adjacent to where Naylor was arrested.
Naylor, who gave evidence at the trial, described himself as a busker. He agreed that in the early hours of the morning in question he had spoken to the student, but denied both having a knife and of robbing the man’s phone.
He told the jury that just prior to his arrest, he heard a mobile phone ringing in his pocket and that he panicked and threw it away.
When asked how it got there, Naylor claimed it must have slipped into his pocket by accident either when the student was using his app to tune the guitar or when the student was trying on the leather jacket.
Naylor’s version of events was rejected by the jury, who took less than an hour of deliberating to arrive at a unanimously guilty verdict.
Naylor was remanded back into custody and Judge Kerr ordered that pre-sentence reports be prepared ahead of sentencing on April 8.