Sunday 17 December 2017

Man jailed for mugging elderly lady

A 35-YEAR-old Drogheda man was jailed at Dundalk Circuit Court last week for stealing a handbag from an elderly woman who fell and broke her jaw during the theft.

A 35-YEAR-old Drogheda man was jailed at Dundalk Circuit Court last week for stealing a handbag from an elderly woman who fell and broke her jaw during the theft.

Alex Parsons, 80 Moneymore, Drogheda, pleaded guilty to robbery during the course of an incident at Constitution Hill in the town on March 29 2012.

The court heard that the victim was a 77-year-old woman who had just left her local hairdressers and begun walking up the hill, along the footpath.

She had almost reached the top of the road when she felt someone grab at her bag. She knew immediately she was being 'mugged.'

The woman had the bag almost wrapped completely around her body, but when the thief pulled with such force to remove it, she fell over onto the road, and banged her face on the ground. When she opened her eyes, she saw a man running away with her beige coloured bag under his arm. As she had fallen onto the road, she said she considered herself lucky that she wasn't hit by a car.

The court heard that she sustained a number of injuries in the fall, including a broken jaw, bleeding from her left ear, and a cut to her chin requiring five stitches.

The victim told gardaí that she found the incident 'very distressing.'

When interview by gardaí, she suffered a stroke when talking about the incident. However, her son had spoken to an investigating garda and told how his mother was sympathetic to the accused.

The court was told that Parsons was identified on CCTV footage from a camera along Constitution Hill. He was recognised by gardaí, who went to his home, and arranged for him to be interviewed.

Initially the accused said that he was being chased by two people along the hill. But he then admitted he had mugged the elderly woman.

He described it as a 'spur of the moment thing' and said he didn't know that anything he had done had resulted in her falling to the ground.

He admitted throwing the bag into the Boyne River and keeping its contents which included €45 in cash, a mobile phone valued at €200 and a bank card.

The court heard that Parsons had a series of previous convictions, including drugs and driving offences, and public order. The most serious was assault causing harm, for which he was jailed in 2000.

The accused defence barrister told how at the time of the offending behaviour he was a drug addict, and was known to gardaí as such.

She said that when he was arrested and told of the victim's injuries, he expressed great remorse and concern for her wellbeing. He realised these were serious injuries and was deeply regretful. He admitted it was an opportunistic and dangerous.

Since the robbery he has completed a residential drug treatment programme.

The court heard how he had a 'very difficult childhood' and had been witness to domestic violence while growing up. The accused had struggled with addictions, including alcoholism during his life. But while in prison he was introduced to heroin, and became addicted to it.

He is now drug free, and daily attends Narcotics Anonymous.

In sentencing, Judge Michael O'Shea said it was a robbery carried out in a frightening, intimidating, aggressive and violent manner.' He said the victim was in a hopeless and isolated position, and Parsons exploited that position.

He handed down a three-and-a-half year sentence, but suspended the final year.

The Argus

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