Wednesday 17 July 2019

Mugger was 'fed drink and drugs' at age of 10 by uncle and aunt, court told

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Tom Tuite

A JUDGE has ordered the arrest of a teenage mugger who was “fed” drugs and alcohol from the age of 10 by his aunt and uncle.

The then 16-year-old boy pleaded guilty in December to attempted robbery of a woman who had been out walking her dogs at Marina Village, Malahide, Dublin, on the night of April 15, 2017.

The Dublin Children’s Court heard the teen and another male approached her and demanded money. However, she stated she did not have any and they fled. He was due to appear again for sentencing today.

At his prior hearing, Judge John O’Connor had indicated that he was minded to apply the Probation Act if the youth stayed out of trouble over Christmas and came back to court with a comprehensive letter of apology to the victim.

However, the teenager did not turn up to court today when the case was set to resume. Judge O’Connor issued a bench warrant for his arrest.

Garda Matthew O’Connor had agreed with defence counsel Nora-Pat Stewart the teenager was remorseful when he was later interviewed at a care facility. He wanted to apologise, she told the court.

Ms Stewart said he had a difficult upbringing and had been fed drugs and alcohol and drugs by an uncle and an aunt from the age of 10.

The teen’s mother, who was present for the hearing last month, was aged 14 when she gave birth to him, the barrister said.

He went to live with the aunt and uncle, however, from the age of 10 they gave him alcohol and drugs.

He was later placed in a care home, however, while there he would be collected by men who brought him out to sell crack cocaine, Ms Stewart said.

The teenager was never caught in possession of drugs but had been caught with the money, Judge John O’Connor was told.

He was then moved to another children’s home outside Dublin.

Counsel said the teen was taking part in an educational course and had a girlfriend who was a good influence on him.

Recently turned 18, he hoped to get steady employment and he had a good relationship with his mother's partner who was like a father to him, Ms Stewart said.

Addressing the court, his mother had said her son was not aggressive and she had prayed he could turn his life around.

She described the incident as “totally out of character” for him but he had been innocent and easily led by others since he was aged 10.

She had spoken about her own health problems and added that her son “helps me with shopping and so much”.

“He can see that without drink and drugs you can have a happy life,” she said.

She explained that the boy's granny could not cope with him and left him on his own with his uncle.

“At 10, 11, 12, he had five overdoses and was in a coma at one stage, she had said, adding, “it was a very bad coma, for a kid at 14, for having cocaine, Valium and some things I’m not too sure about myself, it was a list of endless tablets, he wasn’t right for a week after it”.

The mother said her son has remained in contact with some of his care worker since turning 18 and they also keep an eye on him.

The teen’s uncle has also managed to quit drugs but there also had been a number of deaths in the family and her grandmother had a breakdown, she had said.

The youth has no prior criminal convictions.

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