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EXCLUSIVE: Gambling addict terrified 80-year-old woman after kicking his way into her home

SCENE: Mina struck at the address in Highbury Grove in north London

A CAREER criminal "gambling addict" terrified an 80-year-old woman after kicking his way into the home she was alone in at the time.

Costa Mina, 52, was found by police in the Greek woman's home in Highbury Grove, north London, on May 11 this year before being charged with attempted burglary.

Blackfriars Crown Court heard the woman was at home alone at about 5pm when she heard persistent knocks at the door.

She did not answer but saw a man who was later confirmed to be Mina through the window.

He returned and rang the doorbell, but she feared he he may want to kill her and have a knife.

She called her nephew who later told police he had never heard her so scared in 40 years of knowing her so he called the force and asked them to visit the address.

Prosecuting, Patricia Deighan, said: "In the meantime the defendant forced his way in by kicking open the door, causing damage to the lock and frame."

GUILTY: Costa Mina appeared at Blackfriars Crown Court

The victim saw him in the hall and said 'what are you doing' to which Mina replied 'I came to see if you are OK, but you did not answer'.

The court heard that Mina, from Bounces Road, Edmonton, north London, spoke to the woman in his native Greek.

He asked for a screwdriver to fix the door, but did not appear to be doing so when police arrived and arrested him.

Mina gave a false name and told police he lived there, but was unable to give the address.

He made no comment in interview.

Mrs Deighan said he had 25 previous convictions concerning 71 offences.

Most were for dishonesty and theft, but there was a burglary conviction in 2005 and two more in 2008.

He was last jailed for 14 months at Wood Green Crown Court on October 14 2014.

Mrs Deighan said he has a history of targeting Greek speakers, once conning someone ot of £3,000 and on another occasion doing a home repairs con.

She said the attempted burglary was aggravated by the fact the woman was at home.

She said: "He spoke to her in Greek, so clearly knew her background when he met her."

Defending, Bridget Irving, blamed his theft and dishonesty on a gambling addiction.

She said: "It is a revolving door, he gets a custodial sentence and each time he gets out after a time he gambles, looses money, committs a crime and goes back to prison."

She argued he needed rehabilitation from gambling rather than a further custodial sentence.

Judge Michael Simon adjourned sentence to allow for a report on his gambling addiction and possible rehabilitation to be prepared.

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