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Tuesday 2 September 2014

Phone tracker app snares pregnant woman's mugger, court told

Tom Tuite

Published 11/07/2014 | 16:46

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Phone tracker app snares pregnant woman's mugger, court told
Phone tracker app snares pregnant woman's mugger, court told

A STOLEN phone's tracker app has led to a Dublin youth getting a six-month sentence for mugging a heavily pregnant woman.

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Christopher Robinson (18) from Clanranald Road, Donnycarney was found guilty by Judge John O'Connor at the Dublin Children's Court of taking part in the robbery of the woman who had her iPhone taken on January 21 last year.

A 16-year-old accomplice was sentenced to probation last year for his part in the mugging at Collins Park, in Donnycarney, north Dublin.

Robinson had contested the charge but was convicted following a hearing at the juvenile court. He was a minor at the time of the offence but reached adulthood ahead of his trial.

Yesterday (FRI) Judge O'Connor noted the teenager, who still denies being involved in the robbery, had written a letter to the court. He said it showed the youth believed gardai had a grudge against him.

In the letter, the teen said he was sorry for taking part in other muggings but he still maintained he was innocent of this crime.

Sentencing Robinson, the judge said “it was an appalling crime” and he added that the youth, who came from a good family, had not engaged with the Probation Service.

A tracker "app" on the victim's smart-phone had led to him being caught, the court had heard. The woman, who was then 27 weeks pregnant, had been walking near her home, and was on her phone speaking to her husband when she was approached from behind by two people. One of them was wearing a blue sleeveless jacket.

“I felt like I was being carried along,” she had said as she described how two youths were either side of her. She was knocked to the ground and suffered bruising to her face and grazing on her hands as she tried to protect her unborn child from getting hurt in the fall.

She said she was “really shaken by this” but identified the teenager for Garda Sergeant James Nugent at a chip shop in Marino about 40 minutes later.

Judge O'Connor was told that her husband had heard her screams and arrived on the scene moments later.

He also saw two people running in the distance and after the robbery his wife remembered that her phone could be traced by using the “Find My Friends” app.

Her husband, using his own smart-phone, was able to pinpoint the direction in which his wife's I-phone had been taken, which led them, along with Gda Sgt Nugent to the chip shop.

Gda Nugent said the woman could see the teenager, who was still wearing a blue sleeveless jacket, through the window of the chip shop and recognised him. The phone was recovered from another youth who had there as well.

Gda Nugent told defence solicitor Gareth Noble that when questioned the teenager, who has prior convictions for robbery, admitted being present but denied being involved in the robbery.

In evidence, the youth claimed he had been in the vicinity as two other youths robbed the woman but he was adamant he was not involved. He claimed he had the stolen phone for a second before he handed it to someone else.

Mr Noble, defending, said the teen is addressing a substance abuse problem which had led to his client getting into trouble.

Irish Independent

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