Belfast Telegraph

Teen burglar who terrified victims gets custody term

A “persistent” teenage offender who witnessed his father's murder was given a three-year detention term after he confronted a pensioner and a mother during two separate burglaries.

Ordering that 18-year-old Thomas Robin spend 15 months in custody and 21 months on licence, Belfast Crown Court Judge Patrick Lynch QC told him: “Although I appreciate the terrible trauma you suffered...I ask you rhetorically how you would have felt if your grandmother or grandfather were confronted by a person in these circumstances in the early hours of the morning?”

Earlier the judge heard that an 89-year-old man was sleeping in the living room of his Lagan Fold flat on Cooke Street when he awoke to be confronted by Robin at around 1.30am on August 26 last year.

With only his eyes showing, Robin told the pensioner: “I'm looking for money,” before manhandling the elderly man into another chair and leaving empty -handed through a window.

The court was told the man did not suffer any injuries but was left “extremely traumatised”.

Robin, from Mowhan Street in south Belfast, was arrested and interviewed after police discovered his fingerprints on the window and he “made full admissions” about what had happened, later pleading guilty to burglary.

However, the court also heard that Robin had pleaded guilty to a further count of burglary on January 12 this year after he broke into a woman's house and confronted her with a knife.

Prosecution lawyer Tessa Kitson said the woman and her two daughters, aged five and three at the time, had gone to bed but at around 3.30am. One of the girls had got up to go to the toilet and told her mummy there was someone downstairs in their Charleville Avenue home.

Having put the little girl back in bed, the terrified woman turned round to be confronted by Robin who had a knife up his sleeve and was demanding money.

Telling Robin there was none, the woman followed him downstairs, locking the back door when he left before raising the alarm.

Robin was arrested nearby and police recovered a laptop and iPod. Officers uncovered diazepam and methadrone, with Robin pleading guilty to burglary and possessing both class A and C drugs.

Describing Robin as a “persistent” offender, Mrs Kitson revealed that he has previous convictions for burglary and theft as well as numerous breaches of court imposed Youth Conference orders.

Defence lawyer Richard Mc Conkey conceded that Robin already had criminal convictions when he saw his father Anthony murdered in May 2009, but that it had a “very, very significant impact” on him.

This time last year, Angeline Sara Jane Mitchell (40) was jailed for a minimum of 13 years of a life sentence after she was unanimously convicted of murdering then partner Anthony Robin.

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