Attack leaves 81yo unable to walk

AN ELDERLY local woman, seriously injured when a robber snatched her handbag in the Coffs Harbour city centre last year, has not been able to walk properly since the ordeal.

Falling face first on to the footpath under the force of the attack, the 81-year-old suffered a fractured femur, a broken nose and lost three of her teeth, just days before Christmas.

Recalling the despicable crime to police, the woman said she saw her attacker, Kaya Ohia Jahra, 18, sitting on a BMX near the northern entrance of the Palms Shopping Centre in Vernon Street.

“All of a sudden he took off on his bike towards me,” the woman told police.

“I had my hand bag and a shopping bag on my left arm. The next thing I remember is everyone around me helping me and talking to me.”

The brazen robbery happened between 3.30pm and 4pm on December 14, last year.

That night the woman was treated in hospital.

In medical reports doctors described her injuries as ‘potentially life threatening’.

She underwent surgery to her femur and had a rod inserted in the bone of her leg stretching from her hip to her knee.

Interviewed by police from her hospital bed the 81-year-old said: “My leg is so sore that I don’t think I will be out of hospital for Christmas.”

When questioned by officers, Kaya Ohia Jahra denied his involvement in the robbery but has since pleaded guilty to a number of offences, awaiting sentence in the Coffs Harbour District Court.

He is facing serious charges of aggravated steal from person and use violence causing wounding/grievous bodily harm, recklessly cause grievous bodily harm and two counts of steal from a person.

A charge of aggravated robbery with wounding has been withdrawn.

Kaya Ohia Jahra and a 16-year-old boy stalked shoppers looking for an easy target as they sat on their bikes outside the shopping centre.

The woman just happened to walk into their path.

Kaya Ohia Jahra rode towards her grabbed at a shopping bag she was carrying.

He then stopped a short distance away and rummaged the bag, finding only Christmas cards.

Riding back towards the woman he grabbed hold of her handbag snatching it from her arm.

The force caused the woman to spin falling to the ground.

The accused rode off before being crash tackled by a witness Terry Allen.

Mr Allen leapt onto the thief. During a brief struggle, the offender broke free of his grip and ran north across the street into the shopping centre’s multi-storey car park.

Kaya Ohia Jahra’s 16-year-old accomplice followed him and they reportedly swapped t-shirts.

The other youth then allegedly approached a 54-year-old woman who was walking through the car park with her husband.

The woman told police he struck her arm forcing her to drop her purse.

The 16-year-old allegedly picked it up and ran, but the woman’s husband was able to retrieve the stolen property from him.

The two offenders fled the scene but at 4.10pm that day police received a phone call from a witness who said he saw the accused walking into his home in Albany House.

Officers arrested Jahra and his friend at the house.

When interviewed he denied his involvement and blamed his friend for the robberies. He continues to be held in custody and his case is set down for sentence on July 26.



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