Man jailed for complicity in burglary in which elderly woman was injured

James Agius pleaded guilty to aggravated theft and injuring the homeowner during a burglary, among other charges

A 27-year-old man from Floriana has been sentenced to 30 months imprisonment after pleading guilty to the burglary of a house belonging to a 77-year-old woman.

Several items of jewelry were taken in the burglary, which took place during the afternoon of the 14 November 2014, in St. Ursula Street, Valletta.

James Agius appeared before a court after being identified to the police by his accomplice, during separate proceedings against him and for which he had been handed a 24-month sentence, suspended for three years.

Agius pleaded guilty to aggravated theft, stealing the items from the woman's home, slightly injuring the woman, holding her against her will, and receiving stolen goods.

Magistrate Aaron Bugeja, presiding, took into consideration that the accused had filed a guilty plea at an advanced stage of proceedings, after the court had heard a great deal of evidence.

The victim herself had testified, telling the court how she had come face-to-face with the accused and his accomplice when she returned home after going grocery shopping.

The elderly lady was thrown onto her bed and gagged with tape. “I was shouting at them to let me go, but the taller man told me to stop shouting and keep quiet,” the woman had recalled before the court.

After the men made off with her gold chains and a necklace they had torn from around her neck, the victim had managed to remove the tape that was covering her mouth, but could not do the same to her legs, which had also been bound. Undeterred by this, the indefatigable pensioner dragged herself to her telephone and called the police.

The woman, who had been suffering from severe shock, could not identify her aggressors as they had been wearing large sunglasses.

In its decision, the court highlighted the fact that the burglary could have had fatal consequences for the woman, who could have been asphyxiated by the gag. On the other hand, the accused had paid back some €1,100 to the victim, which the court took to demonstrate an element of contrition for his misdeeds.

However, it also could not fail to note that the accused had been found guilty of causing grievous injury six years ago and had been placed on probation.

Agius was sentenced to 30 months imprisonment.

Police Inspector Carlos Cordina prosecuted, while lawyers Veronique Dalli and Dean Hili appeared for the accused.