Northern Ireland news

Trio given suspended sentence for targeting elderly couple in burglary

Laganside Court in Belfast

THREE men who burgled the Co Antrim home of an elderly couple were each sentenced today to eight months suspended for two years.

Judge Geoffrey Miller QC sentenced Mikulas Danco (45) and his 18-year old son Robert Grulyo, alongside 27-year old co-accused Edward Nemet. All three men have addresses at Fingal Street in Belfast.

All three men admitted burgling the Ballymoney home of an elderly couple on July 22 last year, and of stealing jewellery, watches and gift vouchers from them.

The defendants attended the remote hearing via videolink from Maghaberry and Hydebank, whilst their legal representatives appeared via video conferencing.

Summing up the Crown case against the men, Judge Miller said that all three "deliberately targeted an elderly couple and used subterfuge to distract them."

Judge Miller said that impact on the elderly couple has been "significant." He also noted that whilst this was a deliberate act against an elderly couple, it was unsophisticated and there was no physical violence used.

All three defendants have been on remand since their arrest last July.

Judge Miller said: "In the normal run of things, the court would require the preparation of pre-sentence reports before sentencing. However, these are not normal times. The Probation Board, like so many other bodies, is under immense pressure."

The judge noted that since their arrest last summer, all three have served eight-and-a-half months in custody, which is the equivalent of a 17-month prison sentence.

Judge Miller said: "It's against this backdrop that counsel for each defendant has requested the court to proceed to sentence, without delay."

Taking into account both the coronavirus crisis and the time the trio have spent on remand, he handed all three an eight-month sentence, which was suspended for two years.

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