A teenager accused of breaking into an 84-year-old woman’s home, attacking her and taking her wedding ring must remain in custody, a High Court judge has ruled.
Marcus Maguire was refused bail amid claims that he also stole £200 from the Co Tyrone pensioner and emptied out her Post Office account.
Mr Justice Horner said: “It’s hard to think of a more deeply despicable crime than robbing the elderly.”
Maguire, 18, of Innishmore Park in Coalisland, faces charges of robbery, theft, attempted theft and common assault over the suspected raid in the early hours of April 22.
Previously granted bail, his release was revoked earlier this month amid separate allegations that he stole £20 from a delivery driver.
Opposing his renewed application, Crown lawyer Laura Ievers claimed he had targeted the elderly woman after doing work at her home months earlier.
The pensioner, described as having restricted movement and living alone in Coalisland, raised the alarm two hours after her ordeal, the court heard.
She had been confronted by a male shouting and demanding money after being woken by glass smashing in her hallway.
Maguire was that intruder, the prosecution alleges.
“When she told him she had no money he struck her across the face, knocking her to the floor,” Ms Ievers said.
The woman’s handbag, containing £200, her gold wedding ring, a Post Office debit card and PIN number, was taken before the raider fled.
CCTV footage from the area showed the intruder escaping, and then the elderly lady going out to look for her belongings.
Over the next three days, according to Ms Ievers, the victim’s Post Office card was used to lift money at branches in Armagh, Lurgan and Belfast.
“A total of £850 was withdrawn from her account until all her pension money had been removed,” the barrister said.
Maguire is allegedly linked to those transactions though CCTV recordings.
Forensic tests on blood recovered from the pensioner’s home also connects him to the robbery, it was claimed.
Maguire had been bailed last month, but was returned to custody for allegedly breaching his terms.
Ms Ievers claimed he was involved in the theft of cash from a delivery driver near his home on September 12.
Defence counsel Michael Forde argued his client should be released again due to potential delays in a case for which he may not receive a prison sentence if ultimately convicted.
“It’s been a short, sharp shock to him in custody the last number of days,” Mr Forde added.
But despite Maguire’s age, Mr Justice Horner denied bail due to the risk of reoffending.
The judge added: “This is an 18-year-old man ... who was given a chance after what, on the face of it, appears to be a vile robbery on a defenceless old woman living on her own.”