Northern Ireland news

Drug addict who targeted same family twice is jailed

Samuel James William Robinson (36) admitted charges of robbery, aggravated burglary blackmail and assault

A DRUG addict who targeted the same family twice, leaving them so traumatised they moved home, has been jailed.

Recorder Stephen Fowler QC was asked to impose a "community based sentence" on Samuel James William Robinson (36), who admitted charges of robbery, aggravated burglary blackmail and assault, which could have seen him freed.

However, the senior Crown Court judge said such a sentence could only be imposed where "public confidence in the criminal justice system will not be undermined".

Judge Fowler said Robinson's was an "extremely serious case" of multiple offences involving numerous aggravating factors against the same vulnerable family who were twice subjected to violence coupled with the possibility of facing "extreme violence".

Robinson, originally from north Belfast, but whose address was given as c/o of Maghaberry Prison was sentenced to nine years, to be divided equally between custody and supervised licenced parole.

The court heard written submissions by prosecution counsel Robin Steer which revealed Robinson first targeted the family and their south Belfast home in July 2019. Armed with a knife he initially demanded £500. When refused he left, but returned later demanding £1000.

Having attacked a teenage girl and her mother and threatening to burn their shop, he fled with £200. Although arrested within the month Robinson was subsequently bailed, only to return to the house on September 4. He fled empty handed when neighbours intervened.

Judge Fowler said aggravating factors included Robinson's use of a knife.

He said in one victim impact statement a teenage girl spoke of how she had been left "terrified".

Her mother, he added, told of the "devastating effect" it had on the family who were left feeling so helpless they had to move home and close their business.

"This has crushed my work and family life," she wrote in her impact statement.

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