98-year-old woman hospitalised after alleged burglary: teen denies charges

A 98-year-old woman was taken to hospital after a teenager allegedly entered her house in Antrim town before swiping three envelopes containing £6,000 from her handbag, a court heard on Saturday.

The 17-year-old, who cannot be named because of his age, is from Antrim and Ballymena Magistrate’s Court was told he is denying the charges following the alleged distraction-type burglary.

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.

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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.

In court, when asked if he understood the charges, he replied: “I didn’t touch no cars”.

The police officer said he believed he could connect the accused to the charges.

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Objecting to bail he said 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.

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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.

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He said the youth is due to appear at Antrim Youth Court on Monday charged in connection with another alleged burglary.

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.

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Defence barrister Mark Gribbin said his client was fully aware of the serious charges 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, 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.

The 17-year-old was remanded in custody to appear at Antrim Youth Court on Monday via video link.