Man accused of robbing OAPs in pub toilets



Two pensioners were attacked and robbed in the toilets of separate Belfast city centre pubs, the High Court heard yesterday.

One victim suffered two broken ribs, while the other had to have a head wound stapled together.

Stephen McAree is accused of targeting both men, aged 67 and 70, and stealing their wallets.

The 45-year-old, who denies charges of robbery, causing grievous bodily harm with intent and assault occasioning actual bodily harm, was refused bail.

Prosecutors claim McAree, of Thorndale Avenue, Belfast, was identified by police on CCTV footage of both incidents.

The first victim was grabbed and forced against urinals after entering toilets in Robinson’s Bar on Great Victoria Street on September 30.

The 67-year-old heard a thud and then “everything went blank”, a prosecution lawyer said.

He remembered nothing else until he woke up in an ambulance and realised his wallet containing £80 in cash was missing.

CCTV footage showed a man alleged to have been McAree entering a booth in the bar without buying a drink.

It was claimed that he then followed the victim into the toilet before exiting again and telling staff that someone had been sick.

“When bar staff entered they found the injured party lying against the inner door of the toilet,” the prosecution lawyer said.

As well as two fractured ribs, he suffered cuts and bruising to his head, face and body.

The second robbery was carried out at Wetherspoon’s Bar on November 7.

The 70-year-old victim, who had just finished having lunch with his son, was attacked as he used the toilet before leaving.

He was hit on the face so hard that it knocked him over, causing him to strike his head on the ground, the court heard.

The pensioner remembered shouting up at a man: “You have got my wallet.”

He sustained back injuries and needed five staples for a head wound.

His wallet, containing bank and store cards, was missing.

Police again claim CCTV footage shows McAree going into the toilets before the victim entered.

The alleged attacker is then seen running out of the bar, Mr Justice Maguire was told.

McAree was later arrested and denied any involvement in either robbery.

Refusing bail, Mr Justice Maguire cited the risk of further offences.


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