Jailed for burglary of pensioners’ homes

Derry Magistrate's Court sitting in Omagh
Derry Magistrate's Court sitting in Omagh

A judge has said that burglaries, especially on the elderly, will ‘not be tolerated’.

District Judge Barney McElholm made the comment as he jailed a 20-year-old man for his part in two burglaries.

Derry Magistrate’s Court, sitting in Omagh, heard the victims were all in their 70’s and ‘just wanted peace’.

Ethan Irvine, of Carnhill, pleaded guilty to two burglaries in the city on February 27.

The residents of a property on the Duncreggan Road returned home to find that a rear kitchen window had been smashed.

The kitchen door was locked so the burglars could not gain entry to the rest of the house and nothing was taken.

CCTV was checked and three males were seen approaching the house. Irvine was identified as one of the men.

On the same date, elderly residents in a house in Nicholson Square reported a burglary after a back gate was smashed and the glass pane of a door. A number of items were stolen, including two flat screen TVs and a hair dryer.

CCTV was checked and three males seen in the area.

Irvine was observed carrying one of the TVs under his arm.

Defence barrister Stephen Mooney said it was clear there were other individuals involved and his client was ‘a junior partner’.

He described the offences as a ‘disgraceful enterprise’ but added that Irvine was not the brains behind the burglaries. The barrister said the 20-year-old had little recollection of the incidents because of drugs he had consumed.

Mr Mooney said Irvine has been subject to a paramilitary threat and is now trying to get on the ‘straight and narrow’.

He added that when the defendant found out the ages of his victims he felt ’shame and remorse’.

Judge McElholm said someone had to experience a burglary to understand how it affected victims.

Jailing Irvine for a total of eight months, the judge said he was a ‘willing participant’ in the burglaries.