'Intolerable' : Robber jailed for 6 years as court slams violence on elderly shopkeeper

The man, 47, has been jailed for six years for both robbing and grievously injuring a 72-year-old shopkeeper with a metal bar, to finance his drug habit

A man has been jailed for six years for robbing and grievously injuring an elderly shopkeeper to finance his drug habit. 

The court described this crime as "intolerable in a civilized society" when highlighting the necessity of providing effective protection to society's most vulnerable.

47-year-old Kevin Cacciattolo had been charged with the armed robbery of a shop in Msida in August 2018. 

He was also charged with grievously injuring the 72-year-old shopkeeper, holding him against his will, carrying a knife in public without a permit during the commission of a violent offence and recidivism.

The elderly man had initially resisted the robber, who then hit him in the head with a metal bar, leaving him bleeding on the pavement. The incident had been captured on CCTV, which had eventually led to Cacciattolo’s identification and arrest.

In a judgement handed down today, Magistrate Ian Farrugia gave an overview of the sequence of events which led to the charges. 

He observed that it had been proven that Cacciattolo had driven his car to Msida, parked and then walked towards the shop. “The defendant’s intention was clear and unequivocal - he wanted money at all costs and this because he has an acute drug abuse problem,” said the magistrate.

Cacciattolo had shown the knife to the shopkeeper, who stepped back behind the counter and refused. In an attempt to defend himself, the shopkeeper had grabbed a chrome rod with a hook at the end, normally used to retrieve items from high shelves, and managed to knock the knife out of Cacciattolo’s hands.

But the robber had grabbed the other end of the rod, leading to a struggle which ended up on the pavement outside. At one point the rod snapped in two, at which point Cacciattolo attempted to hit the elderly shopkeeper with his end, while the victim tried to fend off the blows with the other half of the broken rod, while shouting for help.

At one point Cacciattolo had landed a blow on the shopkeeper’s head, seriously injuring him. While the disoriented shopkeeper was recovering, the robber opened the cash register by throwing it on the ground, picked up the knife and around €500 in cash and fled.

Finding Cacciattolo guilty of the charges, Magistrate Farrugia made no bones about the applicable punishment. “The use of physical aggression on an elderly person with the aim of robbing him while he was minding his own business, running a shop, which caused the same elderly person to suffer grievous injuries must be addressed in a serious and effective manner by the authorities concerned.

“These crimes cannot be tolerated in a civilised society, and when they do happen, society expects to be protected from the criminals who commit them,” said the magistrate.

Whilst acknowledging the fact that the defendant was a drug addict, the court said that in this context exercising mercy was not an option, not least in view of the fact that despite having the opportunity to do so pending these proceedings, Cacciattolo had made little effort to overcome his addiction.

Taking these factors into consideration, the court sentenced Cacciattolo to imprisonment for six years, as well as ordering the seizure of the vehicle he had used during the commission of the offence.

Inspectors Lara Butters and Clayton Camilleri prosecuted.