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Burglary victim found broken window at her home and blood-stained tissue on fireplace

Banbridge man to appeal against prison term for offence which caused 'considerable distress'

Burglar

A Banbridge man who broke into a woman’s home but did not take anything has been sentenced to four months in prison.

The 43-year-old had a longstanding problem with alcohol which had seen him hospitalised 10 times since the age of 18, the court was told.

Andrew Roland Clarke, of Fort Street, pleaded guilty to burglary with intent to steal at Craigavon Magistrates’ Court on Wednesday.

Court heard that police were contacted by the injured party at around 1pm on July 23.

She told officers her phone had received a notification that there had been activity at her Waringstown home whilst she was away at around 12.30pm.

The injured party then went to her house to find a broken window with blood on it, along with a blood-stained tissue on her fireplace.

Court heard that the injured party reported that nothing had been stolen.

A description of a man who was seen in the area led police to an address where they found the defendant.

It was revealed Clarke had cuts to his hand which were consistent with the blood found at the scene.

The defendant was cautioned but made no reply.

When interviewed, Clarke admitted to entering the house.

Defence barrister Damien Halleron asked that credit was given to the defendant for his early plea.

Court heard Clarke’s last offence dated back to 2013 and his last involving dishonesty to 1999.

Mr Halleron accepted that this offences – just as many of the defendant’s previous – was the result of the consumption of alcohol.

He informed the court that Clarke had a “longstanding problem with alcohol” which had seen him hospitalised 10 times since the age of 18.

It was heard the defendant had only found himself in Waringstown as he had been housesitting for his sister.

Mr Halleron said the defendant “accepted this was a nasty offence and would cause considerable distress”.

Court also heard that since the offence Clarke has remained abstinent from alcohol, with Mr Halleron asking the judge to see this as an “aberration on his great progress”.

District Judge Bernie Kelly stated: “Burglary of a private dwelling is probably the most serious offence which this court can deal with.

“There was a point where it could only be dealt with at the Crown Court.”

She added: “It doesn’t matter that you didn’t take anything, you breached a person’s security of their own home and their personal space.”

Clarke was sentenced to four months in prison.

The defendant was released on his own bail of £500, pending appeal.

Judge Kelly imposed an alcohol ban, a curfew between 8pm and 6am and banned Clarke from leaving Banbridge, except for coming to court.

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