Harry’s burglar is sentenced

A Derry man has received a prison sentence for the burglary and criminal damage of a Bridgend restaurant.

Thomas McDonagh, of Bridge Street, Derry appeared at Buncrana District Court last Thursday, where he pleaded guilty.

Buncrana Garda Inspector David Murphy told the court that at 3.30am on March 14th last, Gardai in Buncrana were alerted to a report of a Renault Scenic car, which was alleged to have been involved in a “ram raid” incident on the Buncrana Road, Derry. The car had been seen at Harry’s Bar and restaurant, Bridgend and detectives from Letterkenny were summonsed to the scene. The car was found parked at Harry’s. It had no registration, the key was inside and a window was down. Gardai saw a glass pane of an inside door had been smashed and could hear people in the building. Gardai surrounded the building. As they entered, the three “absconded,” with Gardai giving chase. Detective Carr saw two males, one of which was McDonagh, (20) who he arrested. Another male was found later and also arrested. McDonagh was conveyed to Buncrana Garda Station where he was interviewed but made no admissions. The scene was examined and a pair of runners belonging to McDonagh was seized. A footprint mark on the window of the premises appeared to be made by the same type of footwear McDonagh was wearing.

The court heard McDonagh told Gardai he had been in Bridgend for hunting. CCTV obtained from a nearby premises showed the car had stopped for fuel. McDonagh got out of the car, trying to conceal his identity. Another passenger paid for the fuel, before they travelled across to the restaurant. The court heard McDonagh possessed a number of previous convictions, including dangerous driving and criminal damage. Defence solicitor Mr McDonald said when McDonagh was arrested he was highly intoxicated, to such an extent that Gardai were unable to interview him. He said his client was “remorseful” and had been in custody since March.

Judge Paul Kelly sentenced McDonagh to six months imprisonment, backdated to March 14th with the last three months suspended for one year on his own bond of 750 euro for burglary. He imposed the same sentence for criminal damage. McDonagh is not to reoffend and is also to seek treatment for alcohol misuse.