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Deaf robber stormed woman's flat and used interpreter to demand cash

Paul Coombs, who is registered deaf, admitted carrying out unique Scottish crime of hamesucken.

Perth Sheriff Court: Fumigated.
© STV

A deaf robber forced his way into a woman's home and then used his interpreter to demand money.

Paul Coombs admitted carrying out the uniquely Scottish crime of hamesucken by storming into Laura Fairweather's house to steal from her.

Perth Sheriff Court was told that Coombs, who is registered deaf, turned up with a gang at the flat and used one as an interpreter because he cannot speak himself.

On Thursday, Coombs was jailed for 14 months despite telling the court prison would be difficult for him because of his inability to hear.

Coombs, 42, from Dundee, admitted forcing open the door of the property in Hilltown Court, Dundee, on June 27, and demanding money from Miss Fairweather before robbing her of bank cards.

Fiscal depute Stuart Richardson said the victim knew Coombs and had borrowed £20 from him which he had told her that he wanted back in June.

"She had not paid him back. He sent a text message asking for repayment of his money. She said she could not pay him back at that time," Mr Richardson said.

"He responded by saying he was coming to her house to try and recover his money. Not long afterwards, she heard a knock at the door.

"Thinking, correctly as it turns out, that it was Coombs, she ignored it. The door was forced open and Coombs and two others entered the flat.

"One of the others did have normal speech and he did the talking, demanding the accused's money from Miss Fairweather. She said she did not have the money."

He said bank cards were taken from the flat. Coombs, who needed a sign language interpreter to follow court proceedings, was arrested along with George Drinnan, 29, who is also deaf, and Simon Stewart, 26.

The charge was dropped against Drinnan and Stewart. A solicitor for Coombs said: "As is obvious, he is registered deaf. He has underlying issues in relation to substance misuse. The money here had been loaned.

"Because of his difficulties he attended the flat with friends - including one who acted as interpreter for him. He accepts he entered the property uninvited."

Sheriff Michael Fletcher told Coombs: "You have an extremely bad record for crimes of dishonesty and crimes involving violence, with several convictions for assault and robbery.

"The serious part of this offence is that you made your way into an individual's home without invitation and there were three of you. As a result a number of items were removed. I can't deal with it any other way than a custodial sentence."

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