Belfast Telegraph

Teenager accused of burgling 94-year-old woman banned from going near Northern Ireland nursing homes

By Alan Erwin

A youth accused of burgling a 94-year-old woman must not be within 500 yards of any nursing home in Northern Ireland, a court ordered.

The prohibition was imposed as bail was granted to the 17-year-old accused of targeting vulnerable pensioners living at facilities across Co Antrim.

He allegedly joined a 22-year-old woman in a campaign which also involved attempted raids on four different care homes between May 1-4.

Prosecutors claim the 94-year-old woman living in sheltered housing at Castlerocklands, Carrickfergus answered a knocked on her door to be confronted by a male and female asking for a glass of water.

The pensioner's attempt to close the door were thwarted by a foot being put against it, a previous court heard.

She went to get the drink, leaving her walking frame and handbag unattended.

When the woman returned the callers had gone and the bag containing £30 cash was said to be missing.

It was alleged the pair had also gone into her home, rummaging through a jewellery box but apparently taking nothing more.

Further incidents occurred at four nursing homes located in Carrickfergus, Ballymena and Lisburn, according to the prosecution.

On each occasion a male and female challenged by members of staff claimed they were on the premises looking for work.

Investigations into other suspected incidents involving the same alleged modus operandi were said to be continuing.

The 17-year-old defendant, who cannot be named because of his age, and co-accused Zakelina Sarkozlova, a Slovakian of Martin Park in Newtownabbey, deny charges of burglary and four counts of attempted burglary.

They claim they only went to the nursing homes to seek work.

Both accused were initially refused bail at the High Court last month due to the risk of re-offending.

But while Sarkozlova remains in custody, the teenager's solicitor, Hamill Clawson, successfully mounted a fresh bail application at Belfast Youth Court.

His client is to be released under strict conditions, including a curfew, electronic monitoring, daily reporting to police and £1,000 cash surety.

Mr Clawson confirmed the judge imposed a ban on being within 500 yards of any nursing home.

Belfast Telegraph Digital

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