Jail for thug who forced OAP to hand over money
A Belfast man caught on CCTV forcing a pensioner to hand over money he had just taken from an ATM was jailed yesterday.
Gerard Anthony Patrick Doyle (26) was one of two men a taxi driver spotted taking the cash in September 2014.
The driver alerted police and tailed the pair to nearby flats on the Antrim Road, where they were later arrested.
Defence lawyer Barry Gibson told the court that Doyle's co-accused had died and that this had been a wake-up call for his client, from University Street, in the south of the city.
He added that the defendant was determined to change his way and become a good influence on his baby daughter.
Mr Gibson said Doyle had been drug-free since January and had completed courses in prison while on remand, including one on good parenting.
He admitted alcohol had been a feature in his client's offending, with footage showing Doyle stumbling over his own feet following the theft.
The solicitor said his client accepted responsibility for taking the £100 and for having a screwdriver in a public place.
Belfast Crown Court Judge Neil Rafferty told the defendant that had he been convicted of attempted robbery instead of pleading guilty to theft, the starting point for his sentence would have been in the region of four-and-a-half years' prison.
He added there were a number of aggravating features in the case, including the fact that the victim, who told police the ordeal left him feeling terrified, was a vulnerable person.
Doyle was given an 18-month sentence, with half to be spent in jail and half on licence.