Coleraine man with 256 convictions allegedly 'preyed upon' women aged 88 and 85

Coleraine man with 256 convictions allegedly 'preyed upon' women aged 88 and 85

A COLERAINE man with 256 previous convictions is alleged to have "preyed upon" victims including two women aged 88 and 85.

Patrick Simpson (50), of Kylemore Road, is charged in relation to incidents when an elderly victim alleged he was holding a spade in her bedroom in Coleraine in the middle of the night.

He is charged with aggravated burglary and attempting to steal at a house at Riverview Avenue on Monday May 30 this year whilst having a garden spade as a 'weapon'.

The defendant is also alleged to have attempted to enter another dwelling at Riverview Avenue where he is further accused of stealing tools from a shed.

He is also accused of stealing a bin from a garage at another house at Riverview Avenue and he allegedly took a spade and strimmer during the burglary of a shed at nearby Castlerock Road.

Simpson, Court News NI can report, is also charged with assaulting a police officer.

The defendant appeared via video link from Coleraine at Antrim Magistrates' Court, sitting in Ballymena, on Tuesday.

The full details surrounding the case were not outlined to the court but on Monday, a PSNI press release had said: 'At around 2.45am a male was observed jumping a wall between two properties. A short time later an older resident discovered a male, who was holding a spade, inside a bedroom at her home on the same street. It was later discovered that other properties on the street had also been targeted for burglary.

'Police responded to the reports and located a man matching the description nearby. He was subsequently arrested and a number of items were seized. During the arrest a police officer was assaulted whilst attempting to administer first aid to the suspect who had sustained a cut to his hand.'

In court a police officer objected to bail saying the defendant was "likely to commit further offences" as he had  256 convictions including 50 assaults on police and 34 "dishonesty" convictions.

She said: "Police consider Mr Simpson clearly has no regard for the law and there would be a very high likelihood he would go on to commit further offences".

The officer said if released on bail there was also a chance he would interfere with witnesses and he is "obviously aware of the addresses".

She added: "There are also further allegations that we are not in a position to prove today for various reasons, such as elderly residents are in hospital.

"Some of the victims featuring in the offences before the court today are vulnerable due to age - 88 and 85 year old females - both of those females live alone.

"Police are very concerned that Mr Simpson will interfere with the known witnesses but in particular the two elderly ladies".

A defence solicitor said: "In real terms this case will probably be decided by way of forensics and forensics will take some time."

He said the defendant is in "poor health" and wanted bail for medical appointments.

Deputy District Judge Austin Kennedy refused bail saying Simpson's record was "appalling".

The judge said: "There appear to be at least two very vulnerable witnesses in the case and it very may well be that this defendant knew that at the time and that is why he preyed upon them so they are very, very, serious offences".

Judge Kennedy was concerned that given his record Simpson  would "simply do the same thing again" if released and he refused bail.

The defendant was remanded in custody to appear via video link at Coleraine Magistrates' Court, sitting in Ballymena, on June 13.