Couple barricaded themselves into room

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A couple barricaded themselves in a living room while two men broke into their flat, a court has heard.

Stephen Clarence, (25) and 20-year-old Niall Patrick McGuinness, both of Josephine Avenue, pleaded guilty to burglary on November 17, last year.

Derry Crown Court heard the couple were woken up by the sound of loud banging at the door of their flat in Drumachose Park. The door had been forced open and there was damage caused to the lock, but nothing appeared to be missing.

Ten minutes after the police left, the couple heard banging at their door again. They barricaded themselves in the living room by pushing a sofa against the door.

When police arrived for a second time, officers saw Clarence and McGuinness running away from the flat. Clarence was found in possession of items stolen from the flat. It was revealed £375 had also been stolen from the property and this was never recovered.

Judge Philip Babington said Clarence has an appalling record, including five previous convictions for burglary. He imposed a determinate sentence of two years and four months and said it was clear the 25-year-old has “learned nothing from previous court appearances”.

The judge adjourned the sentencing of McGuinness for three months and ordered him to come back to court in December with £200 compensation for the injured parties. If he does this he will receive a non-custodial sentence.