Man jailed for seven years for armed robbery on octogenarian

A man who held an octogenarian at knifepoint has been jailed for seven years for his 'cowardly and heinous act'

The victim had awoken from his siesta to find two hooded thieves brandishing a breadknife
The victim had awoken from his siesta to find two hooded thieves brandishing a breadknife

Iakob Nori, a 41-year-old Libyan man who held an octogenarian at knifepoint during a 2012 house robbery has been jailed for seven years.

The man's victim, an 81-year-old Xemxija resident, had awoken from his siesta to find two hooded thieves brandishing a breadknife they had picked up from his home. The thieves made off with around €1,200 in cash.

Nori, who was born in Tripoli and lives in Mosta, had been charged with conspiracy to commit aggravated theft, holding the victim against his will and threatening him with the knife, which had been from on top of a fridge inside the garage in Pwales, which was the elderly man's home.

Police recovered a balaclava and the bread knife which had been used to threaten the victim, a short distance away from the scene of the crime.  

The court, presided by magistrate Donatella Frendo Dimech, heard how the police had been tipped off about two suspicious-looking men and a strange car, parked close to the victim's home the day before. 

The court was told that the two men had gained entry to the property by knocking on the victim's door and asking him for water for their car. 

That car was later used by the robbers to escape and reportedly belonged to the girlfriend of Twanny Grima, the other man involved in the robbery. In separate proceedings, Grima had admitted to the robbery and was jailed for 18 months as a result.

During his interrogation, Grima had told the police that Nori was the mastermind behind the robbery and had targeted the elderly man – who frequented the same Mosta bar as the accused – after learning that he kept a large amount of cash at home.

The court picked apart the accused's version of events, noting that although he had claimed to have been in Birkirkara and later at a construction site in Mosta on 7 December, the day of the holdup, he had previously claimed to have been unemployed for a year.

The testimony of a co-worker from the construction site, whom the defence had produced as an alibi, was not credible, the court held.

The accused and his accomplice had repaid an elderly man's act of kindness by robbing him, the magistrate said, condemning in no uncertain terms what it described as the man's “cowardly and heinous act.”

In addition to the seven-year custodial sentence, the court imposed a fine of €116.47, prohibited Nori from holding an arms' licence for five years and placed a three-year protection and restraining order in favour of the victim. The accused was additionally ordered to suffer half the court expenses.

Inspectors Carlos Cordina and Joseph Busuttil prosecuted.