A man who admitted stealing a number of valuable and sentimental items from the home of the Catholic Bishop of Derry Dr Seamus Hegarty has been jailed for 18 months.
Declan Devine, who had 76 previous criminal convictions, will also be on licence for 18 months after his release.
Among the items he admitted stealing from Bishop Hegarty's Buncrana Road home were a 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 in Bloomfield Park, Galliagh, the day after
the theft in August last year. Judge Piers Grant was told that Devine was confronted by Bishop Hegarty outside his bedroom.
He asked him 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 fingerprints and his DNA 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 fortitude 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 hold ll and an X-box video games console from a house in Hampstead Park on April 2 of this year.