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Belfast man (26) jailed for robbing man after knocking him to the ground

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A 26-year old man who stole another man's wallet after knocking him to the ground was handed a 14-month sentence on Friday.

Sentencing Michael McClure for a charge of robbery, Judge Sandra Crawford told him his actions would have been a "frightening and distressing experience" for the injured party.

From Killarn Close in Belfast, McClure was told he will spend six months in custody, followed by an eight-month period on licence after he appeared in the city's Crown Court via a videolink with Maghaberry.

At around 7pm on November 19, 2018 the injured party was walking along East Bridge Street when he recognised McClure, who was on the other side of the road.

He called McClure over, and as pair walked along Market Street McClure punched the other man which caused him to fall to the ground.

Whilst on the ground, McClure stole his wallet containing £80 and a bank card he later used in Tesco. The injured party sustained cuts and bruises to both knees and a cut to the inside of his lip, while McClure fled the scene.

McClure handed himself into police in March 2019, and in pre-prepared statement he claimed the injured man had confronted him about drugs then dropped his wallet when he ran off. He also denied any violence - but later admitted a charge of robbery.

Defence barrister Ben Thompson said his client wanted to apologise both to the court and the victim for the incident, and added: "He knows that robbery is a serious offences."

Mr Thompson also said that back in November 2018, McClure was abusing drink and drugs but that he was at a different point in his life now.

Judge Crawford said: "The serious nature of any street robbery or mugging must not be underestimated. While fortunately the injuries were relatively minor, this would nevertheless have been a frightening and distressing experienced for the injured party.

"It is accepted, however, that this was an extremely unsophisticated robbery which did not feature the most serious hallmarks of this offending, such as the use of a weapon or pre-planning."

Telling McClure that after giving careful consideration to all the circumstances she considered the custody threshold was met, Judge Crawford imposed a 14-month sentence.

She also ordered that McClure pay back the £80 he stole from the injured party.

Belfast Telegraph