A CO Armagh man who tried to rob a fellow hostel resident of cash by putting an imitation firearm to his throat was jailed for two years on Friday.
Nash Beattie (20), of Garvaghy Park, Portadown, pleaded guilty at Belfast Crown Court to attempted robbery and criminal damage.
The court heard that at the time of the “terrifying” incident Beattie was a resident at a hostel in Belfast’s Corporation Street.
Prosecutor Simon Jenkins said a male resident in the hostel was at a computer on January 12, 2016, looking up his Facebook page when Beattie approached him and told him to tell his friends on the social media page to give him £40.
“Beattie then pulled a gun from the waistband of his trousers, showed it to the victim and told him to give him £40,” said the prosecution lawyer.
Judge Geoffrey Millar QC was told the victim was “in fear” as he believed the gun to be real and went to his bedroom only to be followed by Beattie.
After closing the door, Beattie entered the room, pulled the gun out again and “put it to the throat” of the victim and told him he was going to “shoot him if he didn’t give him the money”.
Mr Jenkins said the victim told Beattie “not to shoot him as he had children”.
The judge heard that Beattie proceeded to smash photographs and pictures which cost the victim £130 to repair.
The victim left the room and went to see hostel staff who alerted police and Beattie was subsequently arrested.
The gun was seized, forensically examined and found to be an air pistol which resembled a Glock semi automatic handgun which Beattie claimed he had bought earlier that day for £15.
A victim impact report said the hostel resident had been “left terrified’’ after the incident which had brought on an asthma attack.
A defence barrister told the court: “Mr Beattie has asked me from the outset to apologise to the victim in this case. He is aware of the suffering he has causing to the victim.
“It was a very foolish attempt by the defendant for a very short term gain. It was clear he was not going to get away with it.”
Judge Millar told Beattie that the custody threshold had been passed and agreed with the Probation Service that despite his 14 previous convictions, five of which were for robbery, he did not pose a danger to the public in the future.
“Given your pleas of guilty, I consider the appropriate determinate sentence is one of four years - two years in custody and two years on licence.”
Beattie received a concurrent six-month sentence for criminal damage and the judge ordered the destruction of the imitation firearm.