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‘Talented’ Portadown musician jailed for stealing guitar to restart music career

'Whilst you may well wish to re-engage with something that suits your particular skill set, stealing is not a way to start'

A ‘talented musician’ from Portadown who stole a guitar, meat and other products to fund an addiction has been jailed for eight months.

On sentencing the 31-year-old, District Judge Rafferty commented: “Talented or not, you have managed to, thus far, accrue some 135 previous convictions.”

Conor James McConville, of Portmore Street, appeared before Craigavon Magistrates’ Court last Friday charged with three counts of theft, going equipped for theft, cycling when unfit, four counts of assault on police, criminal damage and a further case of theft.

Defence barrister David McKeown informed the court that the defendant was pleading guilty to all charges and he was subsequently re-arraigned on a number of the charges, to which he replied “guilty”.

The prosecution outlined that on February 3 and 4 this year, the defendant entered SuperValu on the Garvaghy Road in Portadown and stole a quantity meat to a total value of £320.25. The owner of the store identified the defendant as the man involved.

On February 5, police were contacted about the theft of a guitar valued at £549 from a music shop in Lisburn.

On that date, the defendant was observed on a bike carrying the guitar. He verged off the kerb and fell into the middle of the lane of traffic, narrowly missing cars.

A short time later, he was identified by police, carrying a guitar whilst on a bike, on Chapel Hill in Lisburn.

An officer tried to stop the defendant but he lashed out and pushed them to the ground, before making off on foot through the Bow Street Mall.

He was subsequently detained and arrested. He was searched and a screwdriver was located in his trouser pocket.

The other case before the court related to an incident which occurred on November 13, 2023, when police received a report of a theft from Holland and Barrett in Portadown.

It was alleged that a male entered the store and placed CBD products to the value of £296 in a bag before leaving and telling the manager “you know the score”.

Police then went to the Garvaghy Road area of the town and discovered two males engaged in an altercation. One of the males was dressed similarly to the suspect.

A search was carried out and the products were discovered in a bag on the defendant’s person.

Speaking on McConville’s behalf, Mr McKeown BL described his client as a “very talented musician who had developed drug addiction issues”, adding that on his release on licence he had sold his guitar in order to fund it.

He continued that the defendant came off drugs and took up a role as a volunteer, before suffering a “tragic setback” and returning to alcohol.

“He thought if he got a guitar he could return to his music career,” Mr McKeown added, noting that McConville has a “potential bright future” with signs of progress being shown to probation.

District Judge Rafferty told the defendant: “Whilst you may well wish to re-engage with something that suits your particular skill set, stealing is not a way to start.”

For the matters in February this year, he sentenced McConville to a total of five months, alongside a £100 fine for cycling whilst unfit.

For the matters of last November, he was sentenced to three months in custody, to run consecutively with the five month sentence, leaving a total sentence of eight months in jail.

Follow all the latest court news here.

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