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Heartless thief who burgled home of 96-year-old

Court

A 22-YEAR-OLD man has been warned to “expect a significant custodial sentence”, after pleading guilty to the burglary of a 96-year-old Lisnaskea woman and stealing cash.
While there are other convictions on record for dishonesty, this was the second time an elderly person was targeted in their own home by the defendant.
Dungannon Crown Court heard the victim in the latest case was particularly vulnerable as she is blind and hearing impaired.
Nathan Phair (22) of Castlebalfour Park, Lisnaskea but remanded in custody since his arrest, admitted entering the victim’s home as a trespasser on 27 August 2017, where he stole £200.
During an earlier unsuccessful bail application, a detective explained the victim was in bed when she vaguely heard a disturbance in her home.
At first she put this down to the pipes settling down, however the noise went on for some 90 minutes.
She decided to check and on opening her bedroom door observed a man coming down a flight of stairs from the attic. He fled the scene and police were called. Entry had been gained by smashing a downstairs window and the house was completely ransacked. The victim discovered £200 was missing.
Officers recovered a glove and a footprint, both of which were sent for analysis. DNA matching Phair’s was found on the glove and the footprint was linked to a previous incident in which he was involved.
Efforts to arrest Phair proved difficult and he was described as actively evading police.
The court was told of the previous conviction for targeting an elderly man in his own home who was assaulted and a fire deliberately started causing damage.
Bail was refused with the judge on that occasion stating, “One has a deep concern, particularly after the unhappy news of elderly persons being targeted in their own homes. Such offences are cruel, heartless attacks of elderly, vulnerable people, particularly in rural areas.
“Elderly, vulnerable people are being targeted on the expectation they will be unable to give evidence. They must be protected. There is also a danger of others being made victims.”
Today (Tuesday) Judge Neil Rafferty QC suggested an impacted statement is obtained, stating, “Victims are at the heart of the process.”
Turning to Phair he said, “Given the aggravating circumstances of this case you can expect a significant custodial sentence.”
The case has been adjourned until next month for the preparation of pre-sentence reports.

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