A judge has jailed a 33 years-old old man who admitted stealing a number of valuable and sentimental items from the home of the Bishop of Derry, Dr. Seamus Hegarty, in August of last year.
Declan Devine from Bloomfield Park, Galliagh, who had 76 previous criminal convictions, was jailed for 18 months and will also be on licence for 18 months after his prison release.
Among the items he admitted stealing from Bishop Hegarty’s Buncrana Road home were the Bishop’s gold ring, a number of gold coins, a cigar box and a set of rosary beads. Almost all of the items were found by police officers who searched Devine’s home the day after the theft.
Judge Piers Grant was told that Devine was confronted by Bishop Hegarty outside his bedroom. He asked the Bishop how he could leave the house and Bishop Hegarty showed him to the back door.
A prosecution barrister said while Bishop Hegarty was unable to pick Devine out of an identity parade, the defendant’s finger prints and his D.N.A. were recovered at the scene.
Jailing Devine, Judge Grant said he had been “caught red handed” and he told Devine that his number of previous convictions showed his complete disrespect for the law.
“The victim impact report shows that the gentleman suffered no trauma but that is more likely due to the fortitute of the gentleman involved and it is a lucky thing for you that he did not suffer any trauma”, he told Devine.
The defendant was also given a concurrent 18 month sentence for the burglary and theft of a holdall and an XBox from a house in Hampstead Park on April 2 of this year.