Jail for Nelson drug addict with £36,000-a-year heroin habit

Paul Kenny
Paul Kenny

A HEROIN addict with a £36,000 a year habit was caught for a masked robbery after the victim ripped out his pony tail as he tried to stop him escaping, a court heard.

Paul Kenny had snatched £4,300 cash which was stashed under a big cushion victim Mohammed Butt was sitting on, snoozing, in his lounge at his home in Nelson. Kenny, who had threatened the victim with a stick, was grabbed by Mr Butt as he fled and the victim pulled out a large clump of Kenny’s hair before he opened the front door and made off. Mr Butt’s son also chased the robber and managed to get £1,100 back.

Burnley Crown Court was told how the jobless defendant, then needing £100 a day to feed his addiction to hard drugs, was in debt to drug dealers in Nelson at the time. He had planned the raid after hearing the victim had the money in his home. Kenny was arrested four months later, after the pony tail was forensically examined and proved he was the culprit.

The defendant (42), who has 15 previous convictions, including one for robbery, was jailed for 40 months. Kenny, then living in Nelson, but more recently of Manningham Lane, Bradford, had admitted robbing Mr Butt.

Miss Sarah Statham (prosecuting) said Mr Butt was at home in Nelson, around lunchtime, sitting in the living room on top of a large cushion. His son was on the sofa, asleep. Under the cushion he had hidden £4,300, which was a loan the victim got some days before and could not lodge in the bank.

Mr Butt drifted off to sleep and, when he awoke, a man he had never seen before confronted him. His face was covered with a scarf. The man was armed with a white wooden stick, which was two and a half feet long and two inches thick.

Miss Statham said the man made a Iunge for the money and headed for the back yard. Mr Butt followed the thief outside and the man flung the bag of cash over the back yard wall and appeared to shout for somebody. The robber could not get out of the yard as it was secure, so he ran back through the house, pursued by the victim. Mr Butt managed to grab the man’s hair and pulled out a large clump from his pony tail. The man broke free, opened the front door and went off down the street.

The prosecutor continued: “The male must have been under the influence of drink or drugs. He was struggling to run. Mr Butt’s son had awoken during the course of the robbery and also went outside to give chase. He came back with £1,100.”

Miss Statham said forensic tests on the hair revealed Kenny was the robber. He was arrested in May and questioned. He told police he had been living in Nelson in January as he owed money to a drug dealer. Kenny effectively said he could not remember a great deal about what he was doing as he was using heroin and cocaine and living a chaotic lifestyle. He denied any involvement in the robbery, but claimed he might have been to the victim’s address during his stay in Nelson.

Mr Mark Stuart, for Kenny, said he was in debt to local drug dealers at the time. He knew the complainant’s son. There was no suggestion Kenny broke into the house. The barrister continued: “It would be rather extraordinary for this defendant to actually know if Mr Butt would have that quantity of money in the house.”

Sentencing, Recorder Andrew Long said Kenny had threatened Mr Butt with the stick, either by deliberately waving it or holding it.

The judge told him: “Clearly, there was a degree of planning involved, because you had spoken to Mr Butt’s son, who you knew, and you targeted him because you were aware he was in possession of substantial sums of money.

“You must understand this was an extremely serious offence. Not only was it a robbery, committed with the use of a weapon, but also you invaded Mr Butt’s home in a planned attack in order to commit the offence.”