Woman ‘robbed at bus stop of late husband’s wallet’
A pensioner has appeared in court accused of robbing an 81-year-old woman of her late husband’s wallet.
Londonderry Magistrates’ Court heard that there were a number of personal effects in the wallet, including photographs, mass cards and prayers, and these were allegedly found torn up in a bin at 72-year-old Kenneth Smith’s home.
Smith, of Dundrean Park in the city, is charged with robbery on Saturday, May 8.
The court heard allegations that the complainant, who was described as an 81-year-old vulnerable lady, was waiting at a bus stop in the Fergleen Park area of Galliagh when a male approached and sat down next to her.
He asked the woman for £5 for heating and she told him that she didn’t have any money to spare. As the bus approached, the woman removed the wallet which belonged to her late husband to get her bus pass.
The court heard the male allegedly came “uncomfortably close” to her, snatched the wallet and pushed her before running off.
It is alleged this push caused the 81-year-old to fall to her knees.
The court was told the woman got on the bus and after arriving in the city centre a bus inspector contacted police.
A description was given on the man and what he was wearing and police checked CCTV in the area.
These inquiries led police to attend Smith’s address and he was allegedly wearing the same clothes. The court was told his address was searched and the wallet, containing £45, was seized.
It is further alleged that the photos and other personal effects were found torn up in a bin in the defendant’s living room.
During police interview, Smith allegedly admitted snatching the wallet. However, he said he couldn’t remember pushing the woman.
Opposing bail, an investigating officer said police have concerns the defendant may commit further offences.
He said that Smith suffers from alcohol-induced dementia and if he continues to consume alcohol police believe he will continue to reoffend.
Defence solicitor Paddy MacDermott said this incident was “totally out of character” for his client and “arises from the health difficulties he unfortunately suffers from”.
He told the court Smith has “developed an obsession” with ensuring he has enough money in his meter for electric and heating, but he was not in any financial difficulty.
Deputy District Judge Liam McStay released Smith on bail to reside with family in Eglinton so he can be “controlled and observed”.
He will appear in court again on June 3.