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Pensioner wakened at 2am by burglar trying to steal a watch from her wrist, court hears

An 84-year-old woman woke in bed to discover a burglar trying to take a watch off her wrist, the High Court has heard.

Raiders who ransacked the lone pensioner's home in Londonderry stole cash, jewellery and a 100-year-old glass jar which belonged to the victim's mother.

A man suspected of breaking into the house at Prehen Park has been linked by a fingerprint found on a window of the property, prosecutors said.

Shane McAnenny is also accused in connection with a subsequent cash robbery at a shop in the Waterside area.

The 24-year-old, of Dervock Place, Derry, faces two counts of burglary and theft.

A judge was told that McAnenny was detained last month after police forced their way into his home and found him hiding with a co-accused.

McAnenny was said to have returned to the city after spending six months living across the border in Donegal.

Crown counsel Nicola Auret said he was first arrested over a raid on the elderly woman's home last June.

The barrister told the court: “She was in her bed when at 2.15am she was awakened by someone trying to take her watch from her wrist.

“She opened her eyes to find a male standing over her. She shouted and he ran off.”

Ms Auret said a set of car keys, £15 in cash, a gift voucher and gold chain were among the items stolen.

She added that an antique glass jar, which belonged to the pensioner's mother and had been of great sentimental value, was also taken.

None of the items were recovered.

Following the fingerprint match McAnenny was arrested and alleged two other men had been involved.

He denied being in the victim's bedroom or attempting to take the victim's watch, claiming to have left as soon as he realised an elderly woman lived there, the court heard.

The accused had been released on police bail, only to allegedly become involved in a raid with another man on a Vivo store in August.

McAnenny's barrister told the court he then went across the border to a relative's house “with the princely sum of £80 to keep him going for six months”.

“He was stupid. He should have surrendered himself to police,” the lawyer added.

Granting bail, the judge indicated it would not be proportionate for the accused to spend the next four or five months in custody.

Mr Justice McLaughlin imposed an alcohol ban, curfew and ordered McAnenny not to leave Northern Ireland without notifying police.


McAnenny’s alleged burglary haul:

  • 100-year-old glass jar belonging to pensioner’s mother
  • £15 in cash
  • A gold chain
  • A gift voucher
  • Set of car keys

Belfast Telegraph