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Belfast punter 'stalked and attacked' in bid to rob his winnings, court told

Defendant also accused of raiding Chinese restaurant

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Belfast Magistrates' Court (Niall Carson/PA)

Belfast Magistrates' Court (Niall Carson/PA)

Belfast Magistrates' Court (Niall Carson/PA)

A 60-year-old punter was allegedly "stalked" and attacked in a bid to rob him of winnings from a Belfast bookmakers, a court heard today.

Police claimed Colin Crawford carried out a vicious attack on the man in broad daylight at City Hall after following him from the betting shop.

Crawford, 31, is also accused of raiding a Chinese restaurant while armed with a Taser hours later.

A month later he allegedly targeted a taxi driver, stealing £90 in takings at knifepoint.

Crawford, of Dunanney Avenue in Newtownabbey, faces a series of charges including robbery, possessing an offensive weapon and a prohibited weapon, attempted robbery and assault with intent to rob.

Belfast Magistrates' Court he allegedly targeted the man after he had just "a considerable amount of money" on April 27 last year.

A detective claimed: "Also present in the bookmakers was the defendant, who was aware of his good luck and stalked him as he made his way home.

"The attack on the elderly victim was vicious and sustained over a number of minutes.

"He was pinned on the ground while an attempt was made to locate money on him."

The alleged assault was captured on CCTV and only ended when nearby door staff intervened, the court heard.

Hours later, according to police, workers at a Chinese restaurant in the city were threatened by a robber who took £300 from the premises.

Crawford is allegedly linked by clothing identical to that worn in the earlier attack.

He faces further charges over the suspected robbery from a Belfast taxi driver on May 20.

The victim was flagged down on the Shore Road by a man and woman wanting to be taken to the Shankill Road area.

A knife was produced before the passengers escaped with £90.

The two accused were allegedly found hiding at a nearby fast-food restaurant, the court was told.

In cross-examination by defence solicitor Pearse MacDermott, the detective confirmed Crawford was not picked out in an identification procedure for the taxi driver robbery.

Mr MacDermott argued: "There are evidential issues in this case which may provide him with a defence."

Crawford was granted bail to live at an address which must be approved by police.

District Judge George Conner also imposed a curfew and banned him from travelling in any private motor vehicle.

Belfast Telegraph