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Man who broke his way out of locked toilet at Armagh filling station ordered to pay for damage

The defendant is a joiner and offered to fix the door but after failing to turn up on the initial date set returned to find the work completed

A man who broke open a toilet door at an Armagh filling station after being locked in has been ordered to pay for the cost of replacing it.

Court heard the 35-year-old, who is a joiner by trade, had offered to fix the door but after failing to turn up on the initial date set returned to find the repair had already been completed.

Patrick Halligan, of Tullymore Road, Kilmore pleaded guilty to criminal damage at Armagh Magistrates’ Court on Tuesday.

Prosecution outlined that on June 6, police received a report of criminal damage to a toilet door at O’Kane’s filling station on the Moy Road, Armagh.

A male had forced his way out of the toilet damaging the door and had driven off in a van.

Police upon arrival recovered CCTV and took photographs of the damage.

Details of the vehicle led officers to the last registered owner, the defendant.

When interviewed, Halligan claimed he had been locked in the toilet with keys and phone being left in his van.

Defence solicitor John McAtamney said: “The door was open when he arrived. He had stopped for a coffee and to use the facilities.

“There was a thumb down lock which he turned from the inside but soon after he heard a noise which he thought was someone trying to get in, however, it was a member of staff locking the toilet from the outside.”

He continued: “When he did get out he told the owner he would come fix it on the Saturday as he was a joiner, but he was unable to attend and by the time he did the following Wednesday it had been repaired.”

Mr McAtamney admitted there had been an exchange with another member of staff who had gone to get the key prior to the door being forced open.

District Judge Paul Copeland stated: “You addressed this situation with a degree of excessive force, you were reckless as to how you approached this.

“You could have avoided prosecution if you had followed up on your offer to fix but I do believe your criminal culpability is minimal.

Halligan was handed an absolute discharge but was ordered to pay compensation in the way of £624.

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