Belfast Telegraph

Belfast man who robbed his mum at knifepoint to buy drink avoids jail

The drugs - with a potential street value of between £43,000 and £104,000, depending on the purity level - were found in the defendants' car and in their then home at Roe Mill Gardens on January 16 of last year (stock photo)
The drugs - with a potential street value of between £43,000 and £104,000, depending on the purity level - were found in the defendants' car and in their then home at Roe Mill Gardens on January 16 of last year (stock photo)

By Ashleigh McDonald

A man who robbed his mother at knifepoint in the family home after binging on alcohol and cocaine has avoided being sent to jail.

Francis Dewar (28) assaulted his father and stole his mother's handbag after arriving at their west Belfast home on the evening of March 8 this year in an "agitated state."

While both Mr and Mrs Dewar sustained minor injuries, they withdrew complaints against their son, and expressed the hope that he secured help for his issues with drink and drugs.

Judge Kevin Finnegan said he admired the support they had shown their son, and handed Dewar a combination order comprising of 80 hours of community service and probation.

Belfast Crown Court heard that after his mother refused to give him money, Dewar went to the kitchen and returned with a knife which he brandished at his parents.

Prosecutor Mark Farrell revealed that during the incident, Dewar struck his father to the face and "struggled" with his mother while trying to take her handbag.

She sustained a minor injury to her hand, while her son made off with her purse containing £180 in cash and bank cards.

Mr Farrell said that when arrested the following day, Dewar admitted he had used his mother's bank cards to buy more drink.

Dewar, from Valentia Place in Newcastle, admitted charges of robbery, theft and possessing a small amount of cocaine found on his person when arrested.

Telling Judge Finnegan that Dewar had "no criminal record whatsoever", Mr Farrell branded the case as "unusual." He also said Dewar's parents withdrew their statements as "in their view, their son requires extensive help and assistance."

Defence barrister Michael Ward said there was no doubt his client was under the influence as he had consumed "an estimated 10 pints, a few double vodkas, a few Southern Comforts ... and around three grams of cocaine."

The barrister added: "This was the bottom of a downward spiral that began about six years before, when he started dabbling in drink and drugs."

Pointing out Dewar's remorse was genuine, Mr Ward said his client acknowledged the incident in March was a "wake-up call", and has since abstained from alcohol and is attending Narcotics Anonymous.

The barrister concluded by saying Dewar's family are "lending their support to him", and that "society as a whole and his family would benefit" from the structure of a sentence that would address his issues.

Judge Finnegan said that after reading a letter from Dewar's mother - who was in court to support her son - he and the courts were "consistently amazed by parental love."

Turning to Dewar, the judge said that while his behaviour on the evening in question was "outrageous", he accepted this was down to his addictions.

Judge Finnegan also told Dewar he had to attend and participate in any programmes suggested by probation and any failure to do so would result in prison.

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