Belfast Telegraph

Three years for serial offender Anthony Wylie who tried to mug friend with knife

By Michael Donnelly

A Belfast man with 106 previous convictions who attempted to commit a robbery while awaiting sentencing for a previous theft has been sent to prison for three years.

Judge Gordon Kerr QC told 21-year-old Anthony Wylie that although he had been given the chance to show the court he could change his ways, he "unfortunately decided not to take that opportunity".

Wylie, from Kansas Avenue in the north of the city, had been awaiting sentence for robbing a taxi driver of around £60 in cash.

Yesterday he pleaded guilty of attempting to rob a friend of a wallet at knifepoint.

Prosecution counsel Simon Jenkins told the Crown Court that on Boxing Day last year Wylie approached the friend in North Queen Street, initially asking him for a cigarette, before asking for "a tenner in change".

On being told he had no money, Wylie produced a kitchen knife and menaced him.

"Pulling out the kitchen knife, Wylie threatened to stab the life out of him unless he handed over all that he had," added the lawyer.

Mr Jenkins said that a struggle ensued during which the man lost his wallet containing around £600, but fortunately a passer-by picked it up.

Although Wylie claimed to be the owner, it was given back to the man when his ID was found inside.

Defence barrister Michael Boyd said all of Wylie's offending was "designed to fund his addiction to drugs both prescription and non-prescription".

Mr Boyd said while awaiting sentence Wylie had been behaving well, but following the death of a friend he "unfortunately at Christmas last year seems to have gone off the wagon and went on a binge of both drink and drugs".

The lawyer also claimed Wylie had felt himself under threat and had been carrying the knife "to deter any attack on himself".

Mr Boyd said since being returned to prison Wylie had undertaken a number of programmes.

"Signs are positive," he said.

"Hopefully the penny is beginning to drop that this criminal behaviour has to stop and he has to deal with his underlying drug problem or face the prospect of facing ever increasing terms of imprisonment."

Wylie will serve 18 months in prison, followed by 18 on licence.

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