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Prolific robber who strangled 90-year-old is ‘incapable of reform’

A 'dangerous' Cambridge criminal who terrorised a string of elderly victims in their own h..

By admin , in Cambridge , at April 19, 2018

A 'dangerous' Cambridge criminal who terrorised a string of elderly victims in their own homes appears 'incapable of reform', top judges have said.

Terry Mahon, of Elizabeth Way, was jailed for 15 years at Cambridge Crown Court on September 4 last year (2017).

The 48-year-old admitted three robberies and two burglaries in a crime spree which included a bid to throttle a 90-year-old pensioner.

Branded a 'danger to the public', he was ordered to serve an extra five years on licence after his release.

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An appeal to top judges to reduce his sentence was lost today (Thursday, April 19).

Last year, the court heard that Mahon had spent 30 of his 47 years in prison, having committed his first burglary at the age of just 13 – and has a history of preying on elderly victims.

Mahon, who has 16 previous convictions for 70 offences, targeted elderly residents over six days in May this year in a bid to get his hands on their money.

Terry Mahon

How Mahon's reign of terror unfolded

Marti Blair, prosecuting, said the first robbery took place at 10.15pm on May 11 when Mahon barged into the home of two residents living on Cherry Hinton Road.

"The victims were an elderly couple; she was 79 at the time and he was 82," she said.

"At their door, the defendant said he had been asked by police to tell them someone had been trying to break in. He then came in, with a screwdriver, and insisted on checking their windows."

Mahon ignored the couple's repeated pleas to leave their home, at one point pushing the elderly man to the floor three times and telling the couple he would tie them up if they did not give him money.

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Pensioner had to soil herself after Mahon refused to let her go to the toilet

The elderly woman was also forced to soil herself after Mahon refused to let her use the toilet, the court was told.

He eventually left with £400 in cash after picking up a butter knife and further threatening them.

In a victim impact statement, the elderly couple said they were "terrified of being maimed or killed" by Mahon.

At 10pm just two days later (May 13), Mahon committed burglary after stealing handbags and purses from the house of a 63-year-old woman living at Russell Court, Cambridge.

The items contained no money and were later recovered by staff at Brown's Restaurant before the defendant fled in a taxi.

Miss Blair added: "At 5am on May 15 the defendant knocked on the door of a 90-year-old man living on St James Street, Cambridge – just behind the Grafton Centre.

"He told the man he was a detective sergeant and was let in.

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"He then threatened the man, saying he would tie him up, before strangling him while repeatedly asking for money.

"The victim was pushed to the floor and kicked twice; the whole incident lasted 45 minutes and £100 was taken.

"The victim couldn't get up off the floor, so dragged himself to his door to check it was shut before pressing his lifeline emergency button at his home.

"A fingerprint relating to Mahon was later found at the victim's house."

Caught by a fingerprint on a note with a false name

On the same day Mahon then committed burglary with intent to steal after tricking his way into the house of a 71-year-old woman living on St Anthony's Walk in Cambridge.

He told the woman his neighbour's house had been "smashed up" and he was working with the police.

The woman was immediately suspicious, and the defendant wrote a false name of Martin Stokes on a piece of paper when asked his name.

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Mahon then left the address and nothing was taken – but he was linked to the crime after police found his fingerprint on the note.

Miss Blair added: "The defendant was arrested at 2.15pm on May 17 after police pulled over a taxi on Elizabeth Way bridge.

"He gave a no comment interview. He was identified by two of his victims."

After a separate search, police also discovered Mahon had been living in some garages opposite Cambridge Crown Court.

Mahon was pulled over and arrested on Elizabeth Way bridge (Image: David Johnson)

'Victim statements explain the real trauma'

At an appeal hearing today (Thursday), Mr Justice Edis said statements from the victims 'explained the real trauma which results from an alarming, threatening, uninvited intrusion into the home of an elderly person'.

Mahon got a four-year jail term in 1989, three-and-a-half years in 1994, nine years in 1996, eight years in 2003, seven-and-a-half years in 2010 and four years in 2014.

Lawyers for Mahon accepted his crimes were 'about as bad as they can be' and did not challenge the judge's finding of dangerousness.

But they argued that the 15-year custodial term was far too tough and should be cut.

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Mr Justice Edis said Mahon is an 'extreme example of a man who offends serially and regardless of any attempt that the courts might make to discourage him or deter him'.

He added that Mahon 'appears to be incapable of reform' with a 'compulsion to offend which is plainly irresistible' and a 'truly extraordinary history of offending'.

The 'overwhelming probability' was that, as soon as he is released, 'he will simply do it again as often as he can until he is finally arrested again, having caused who knows what further damage'.

"In this extreme case this was not a manifestly excessive sentence," ruled Mr Justice Edis, who was sitting with two other judges.

"This appeal is dismissed."