A TEENAGER robbed his ‘vulnerable’ aunt of £120 after claiming he was under threat to repay a debt.

Jamie Mason called at the home of his aunt, who has learning difficulties, at 10pm on December 16.

Durham Crown Court heard he appeared in distress and tearfully told her he needed money as a group of people at the end of the street were waiting, “to stab me up”.

Mason then pinned his aunt to the wall, threatened to kill her and smash the house, before grabbing her bag and taking £120 from the purse.

He left, and when arrested, later that night, he denied taking the money, claiming he was given it willingly by his aunt.

Daniel Penman, prosecuting, said Mason told police he would never steal from his aunt, aware of her disability.

The 19-year-old defendant, formerly of Second Street, Blackhall Colliery, denied a charge of robbery, but days before his scheduled trial, earlier this month, he changed his plea to guilty.

It was on the basis he did not raise his arm to his aunt or cause her any injury.

Jane Waugh, mitigating, said: “Ironically, the only person who has offered him accommodation, on his release, is the complainant, but, of course, that would be unsuitable.

“He knows he’s abused that relationship and knows he can’t see her.

“She hasn’t asked for a restraining order, and it may be that in due course he can develop some sort of relationship again, but he must be able to demonstrate he’s an upstanding person.

“The defendant is immature, with mental health issues, but he’s had a chaotic lifestyle.

“He needs support and feels helpless.

“He’s been in custody since his arrest for this, which is the equivalent to a ten-month prison sentence.

“He has good potential and is described as someone who is capable and a good learner.

“He’s bright and articulate and, if he puts his mind to it, and with good support, there is no reason he can’t turn his life around.”

Judge James Adkin told Mason he was in “a bad state” when he carried out the robbery, but after five months-plus behind bars he could pass a sentence to allow his release almost immediately,

Imposing a ten-month prison sentence, Judge Adkin said a condition of his licence release should be an exclusion order from his aunt’s home address.