'High risk' man jailed for 10 years after robbing and burgling pensioners in Wrexham

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Court Reporter

A man already on a life-licence after an attempted murder back in 2006, when he tried to drown his victim and set him on fire, went on to attack two elderly people.

Following specialist intensive therapy for a dangerous personality disorder, Jason Scott Roberts was released from prison last November.

But on July 11 this year he attacked two pensioners within an hour of each other.

Mold Crown Court heard how one man in his 70s fought for his life when Roberts tricked his way into his Wrexham flat on the pretence of wanting some sugar and then stole his television at knifepoint.

Roberts pawned the television so he could carry on drinking – and then robbed an elderly, disabled woman of her handbag in the graveyard of a local
church.

That victim, a visitor to the town, later told police how she had been robbed of her confidence and independence.

Yesterday, Roberts, of Bryn Offa, Wrexham, was jailed for 10 years after he admitted aggravated burglary and robbery.

A court heard how he had previous convictions including three robberies.

In 2006 at Shrewsbury Crown Court he was made the subject of public protection prison sentence for offences of attempted murder, arson, robbery and false imprisonment.

He had been invited back to the victim’s home, but while the victim was in the shower he threatened him with a knife, held him prisoner, slashed him and tried to kill him by drowning him and electrocuting him with an electric fan in the bath.

Not content with that, he tied him up, set fire to the bed and tried to suffocate him, said prosecuting barrister Paulinus Barnes.

In July, a man in his early 70s was at home alone while his wife was shopping when he answered a knock on his door.

He assumed it was a neighbour because entry to the block was controlled by an entry fob and phone system.

The defendant, who had moved in, asked for some sugar and said he lived nearby.

But as the victim got some sugar from the kitchen Roberts, 38, pointed a 12 inch kitchen knife at him and said “give me your money”.

Judge Rhys Rowlands said the victim acted “with remarkable and commendable courage” and struggled with him, pushing the defendant against the kitchen wall, but suffered a cut to his hand in the process.

Roberts left taking the victim’s television, remote control and mobile phone.

The victim later told how he feared for his life and described the defendant as “chillingly calm” and showed no emotion.

Mr Barnes said that within an hour a lady in her 70s who had mobility and other issues and who walked with two crutches, was robbed in the graveyard outside St Giles’ Church in Wrexham.

She was a visitor to the town with a view to moving to Wrexham and had just enjoyed a tour of the church.

But as she left she felt her bag, which had the strap across her body, being pulled from behind.

There was then a struggle.

It happened as she left the church.

The defendant had arrived and the verger said they were about to close the church.

But the defendant said he was desperate, was going to slash his wrists and showed a tattoo on his wrist. The court heard he sounded desperate.

He followed the victim, who suffered arthritis and who used elbow crutches to walk, but he said to her “give it to me” as he pulled at her handbag.

Roberts got the bag, she stayed on her feet despite the struggle and he ran off as she shouted for help.

The bag contained £100 in cash, spectacles and medication.

She said she felt she could never go out alone again.

Following some “good police work” he was found in the beer garden of The Old Swan public house where he gave a false name.

The handbag was found in the toilets of The Cross Foxes.

In a full confession he said he got drunk and committed both offences to get money.

Judge Rhys Rowlands said that an elderly man felt he had to fight for his life in his own home.

He had been deliberately targeted and was cut with the knife when he showed remarkable and commendable courage.

But he no longer felt safe in his own home which was a “truly appalling state of affairs”.

The second victim was clearly vulnerable and walking with crutches but that did not prevent him robbing her.

He was prepared to use violence to steal from her and she had been badly affected.

When interviewed, Roberts said he had drunk 12 pints before returning home and deciding he needed to out to get more money for alcohol.

He was “a high risk of causing serious harm” to others.

Defending barrister Henry Hills said his client indicated guilty pleas at his first appearance at the magistrates’ court, took responsibility and demonstrated remorse.

He was subject to life licence, was released in November and during his period of custody had been diagnosed with a dangerous, severe personality disorder for which he received intensive specialist therapy over a number of years.

The defendant had developed a significant insight into his predicament about the way he thought and behaved, which presumably allowed the Parole Board to make a decision that he could be released back into the community.

But he had not developed coping methods to deal with everyday life on his release.

He did not want to be seen as a failure and that prevented him from disclosing the nature of his personal and social problems.

“It led ultimately to this crisis situation and he responded as he did,” said Mr Hills.

“His life is in a real mess and he understands that.”

Following sentencing, Det Insp Mark Hughes at Wrexham CID said: “Those who resort to violence upon vulnerable people must realise there is a serious consequence. 

“Roberts committed two heinous acts upon elderly and vulnerable victims and I hope this significant sentence will bring a degree of justice to them and a sense of relief to the community that he is now behind bars for a long time.   

“Violent behaviour will not be tolerated in our communities but when it does occur we will find, arrest and prosecute the offenders and they go to prison.”

Email:

it@nwn.co.uk

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