Knife wielding teen robbed 90-year-old woman, court hears

Knife wielding teen robbed 90-year-old woman, court hears

A 90-YEAR-OLD Dublin woman awoke in the middle of the night to find a teenage boy standing over her wielding a knife and demanding her jewellery, a court has heard.

The Dublin Children's Court was told the 15-year-old took rings from her fingers after he allegedly broke into the terrified elderly woman's apartment in Dun Laoghaire in the early hours of April 6th last. 

The 15-year-old, who cannot be named because he is a juvenile, was originally charged with possessing stolen property: a ladies watch, a half-eternity ring with flat diamond on a gold band and a full gold eternity ring and a four stone-diamond ring.

However, that was later substituted with burglary and knife possession charges. Judge John O'Connor was told the DPP has recommended that the boy's case should go forward to the circuit court which has tougher sentencing powers. 

In an outline of the allegations for the purpose of a ruling on the trial venue issue Garda Peter O'Flynn said the incident happened at 2am and the 90-year-old woman had been in bed. 

“She woke up in her bed to find a young man standing over her holding a knife, he demanded money and jewellery,” he said. Gda O'Flynn said it would be alleged the youth took a watch from her bedside locker before noticing the terrified pensioner had three rings on her fingers.

“He demanded that she take them off, which she did,” Gda O'Flynn, adding that the teenager then ransacked her room and went through her presses. It was alleged that when he left he discarded the knife on the ground outside the apartment building.

The Children's Court can accept jurisdiction for a serious offence, which would normally go to a higher court, by taking into consideration the age and level of maturity of a defendant as well as any other factors deemed to be relevant.

The defence pleaded for the case to be kept in the jurisdiction of the juvenile court. The boy's solicitor Aenghus McCarthy said the seriousness of the case could not be disputed. 

However he asked Judge O'Connor to take into consideration the boy's background and young age: the teenager's parents were deceased and until last year he had never come to the notice of gardai.

Mr McCarthy explained that the teenager admits handling the stolen property but denies being the perpetrator of the burglary. The teenager had been living in a tent and was “found camping with the fruits of his labour”. 

He said that while the teenager, who is in custody on remand, has had “no chance of making anything of his life” and was scared at the thought of his trial going before a jury. If the boy were convicted in the circuit court he could face a lengthier sentence and “would not have a chance to make something of his life”, the solicitor argued.

He said that if convicted the boy could end up spending more time with criminals and it was possible that he would not be let out until he is in his twenties. However, if the juvenile court accepted jurisdiction it could give the boy a chance to “reintegrate into society”, he argued.

Mr McCarthy described the boy as very pleasant to deal with but asked to the judge to note the boy is “very, very low” in custody on remand and has emotional difficulties.

Judge O'Connor agreed the defendant, who sat silently throughout the preliminary hearing, had a troubled background and said he was not unsympathetic to that.

However,he said he had to decline jurisdiction and held the case should go the Circuit Court. The boy, who was accompanied to court by a family member was further remanded in custody pending the preparation of a book of evidence.