‘Threat’ prevented return to Waterside

A man who failed to comply with the terms of a Probation Order was “living under paramilitary threat” and unable to go across to the Waterside, Derry Magistrate’s Court has heard.

Derek William Cresswell, of Flat 33, Strand Foyer, was charged with breaching a Probation Order imposed on November 22 last, having been convicted of theft. He was ordered to notify the Probation Service of any change of address, attend for alcohol/drug management and comply with other instructions and requirements as set down by the Probation Service, which he failed to do.

The court was told that the defendant had moved address and lived “quite a nomadic lifestyle”.

A defence solicitor told the court that Cresswell lived under paramilitary threat which prevented him crossing to the Waterside where his mother lived. He also highlighted how Cresswell had a hand bandaged, and his injury had to be treated in Altnagelvin Hospital but instead he had to be treated in the back of an ambulance.

He said Cresswell had been living at the Methodist Mission, had changed address prior to Christmas and had contacted the Probation Service. He said his client lived in a “very unhappy situation” and had turned to alcohol to deal with his issues.

“This incident arose out of the theft of two bottles of Buckfast from Sainsburys on the Strand Road, which were recovered and fit for resale,” he said.

The defence asked the court to consider imposing a suspended jail term to run alongside other suspended sentences previously imposed, so that he would have four suspended terms of imprisonment hanging over him.

The District Judge, Anne Marshall, said she was amazed that somebody of 21 had amassed six theft convictions and that those convictions had taken place at such a young age and in a concentrated time of offending in 2012-2013.

“It all seems to be related to alcohol,” she said.

Imposing a six month jail term suspended for two years, the Judge noted that Creswell had another case pending in March.