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I'm no granny basher, pensioner attack suspect tells jury

By Marion Brennan | Wednesbury | Crime | Published:

A career criminal accused of attacking an 86-year-old woman during a burglary at her home told a jury: "I'm no granny basher."

Birmingham Crown Court

Nicholas Mason, from Wolverhampton, conducting his own defence, told the court: "Yes, I've burgled countless properties in my life but I've never been violent."

The 44-year-old allegedly beat up Veronica Eustace after dragging her upstairs by the ankles demanding the code to her bedroom safe. He is also charged with a string of other burglaries and attempted burglaries in Wolverhampton, Walsall, Sandwell and Birmingham.

He was disturbed by the victim’s daughter who was called by her mother when Mason left her alone in the kitchen for a moment. The daughter lunged at him and grabbed his jacket but he threatened to kill her if she did not release him.

Mason, described as foaming at the mouth as if on drugs, escaped with nothing but a cordless phone, leaving the pensioner in a pool of blood with broken bones in her neck, nose and back.

The attack, on June 5 last year, followed the theft in the early hours of a Ford Mondeo from Lowe Street, Whitmore Reans, Wolverhampton. It is alleged Mason then drove to Mrs Eustace’s home in Yardley, Birmingham.

Afterwards he broke into or attempted to break into several more houses over the next hour, it is said.

In his defence, Mason suggested it was unlikely, having almost been caught by Mrs Eustace's daughter, that he would have stuck around in the same street to burgle other houses. "I'm not stupid," he told the court.

Mason claimed the police and prosecution were relying on circumstantial evidence because of his long history of offending, accusing them of ignoring others who may have been responsible.

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He admitted to being in the victim's road at the time of the attack at around 6.30am but claims he left the scene when apparently challenged by a group of youths.

Whether he is convicted or not, he claimed he would conduct his own investigation into who carried out the attack. He wanted '100 per cent to see justice for Veronica Eustace', he said.

Mason also suggested that some prosecution witnesses were 'affected by emotion' because they were neighbours of hers.

Prints matching his own trainers were found at the victim's house but he argued that the prosecution's forensic expert in cross-examination was unable to say conclusively that they were his.

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Days earlier, the defendant is said to have broken into houses in Green Drive, Oxley, and Farndale Avenue, Whitmore Reans.

On June 8 he reportedly stole a Ford Focus and bank cards from a house in Nantwich before breaking into homes in Albany Crescent and Hurstbourne Crescent, East Park, Wolverhampton, Darlaston Road and Nowell Street, Darlaston, and Lime Road, Wednesbury.

Mason, of Larches Lane, Chapel Ash, denies 13 charges of burglary, five of fraud, three of theft, two of attempted burglary, wounding with intent and handling stolen goods.

The case continues.

Marion Brennan

By Marion Brennan
@Marion_EStar

News and features reporter, specialising in human interest and local history stories.

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