Belfast Telegraph

Parents of teen 'appalled' at charges of robbery and assault on pensioner

By Staff Reporter

The parents of a Co Tyrone teenager charged with breaking into the home of a lone 84-year-old pensioner are "appalled" by his alleged involvement, a court has heard.

Marcus Maguire (18) is accused of assaulting the vulnerable woman on April 22, and robbing her of £200, her wedding ring and Post Office debit card.

Then on April 23, 24 and 25, Maguire, of Innishmore Gardens, Coalisland, is charged with stealing cash from the woman's Post Office account at ATMs on each day. He also faces two counts of attempting to steal cash. A detective constable told Dungannon Magistrates Court he believed all charges could be connected.

He explained the elderly victim contacted police around two hours after her ordeal.

She reported being asleep in her home when she heard glass breaking around 4.30am. She was confronted by a male in her hallway, who shouted and demanded money.

When the victim replied she had no money, the intruder struck her across the face, knocking her to the ground.

Her handbag was then grabbed by the intruder who fled the scene. This contained £200, the victim's gold wedding ring and her Post Office debit card. It took the victim a few hours to gather herself together and call police, the court heard.

Crime scene officers attended and viewed CCTV footage from the area, which showed a male leave the house. A short time later the victim was seen searching outside for her handbag.

Entry was gained by smashing a window and officers recovered a blood sample from an internal door. This was sent for analysis.

Meanwhile, on the next three consecutive days, the victim's debit card was used in Armagh, Banbridge and Belfast. These actions, collectively totalling £850, emptied her account.

CCTV footage was recovered and showed Maguire carrying out the transactions, the court was told.

Forensics officers confirmed the blood sample contained DNA matching that of Maguire, and he was arrested on August 2.

During interview he replied "no comment" to questions.

Objecting to bail, the detective said: "This is an elderly vulnerable witness. We believe there is potential for victim interference and possible re-offending. The defendant and the injured party reside in the same town."

However, a defence solicitor argued bail could be agreed with conditions, including an address some distance from the alleged victim. He highlighted Maguire has only recently turned 18, and has no previous relevant record.

The defence said: "My client's parents are in court and are appalled by any involvement he may have had in this matter. They are willing to ensure bail conditions are kept. It is accepted there is a vulnerable witness and I don't seek to take away from that fact."

District Judge John Meehan agreed to bail with strict conditions. Maguire is to have no contact with the injured party and refrain from entering Coalisland as defined by the 30mph limit.

He is to reside at all times with his grandparents in Castledawson, observe a curfew from 10pm to 7am and report twice weekly with police.

Bail was set at £400 with an additional surety of £600.

Maguire is to appear again on August 29.

Belfast Telegraph

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