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Ballymena man who paint-bombed store after sofa wouldn't fit through door fined

By Nevin Farrell

Published 02/09/2016

Harveys furniture store in Ballymena’s Braidwater Retail Park
Harveys furniture store in Ballymena’s Braidwater Retail Park

A Ballymena man who paint-bombed a furniture store after the £800 suite it sent him wouldn't fit through his front door has been ordered to use the refund to compensate the shop.

Robert Alan McDowell (47), of Patrick Place in Harryville, vandalised his local Harveys branch because he was unable to get his money back at first.

The unemployed man was given a two-year conditional discharge and ordered to pay compensation of £792 for damage caused to the store.

He had previously admitted causing criminal damage on January 27 this year, which required paint to be removed from shutters and windows.

A prosecutor told a previous sitting in February that McDowell had a dispute with Harveys in the Braidwater Retail Park over an invoice.

At yesterday's sentencing in Ballymena Magistrates Court, defence solicitor Stewart Ballentine said McDowell had paid £792 for a suite of furniture.

But because Harveys got the measurements wrong, he could not get it through the door - and an initial refund was not forthcoming when the sofa was taken back.

Mr Ballentine told the previous court "the red mist came down".

However, he said McDowell now accepted that he had done wrong and was remorseful.

The solicitor said the store has now refunded the money for the sofa "because of incorrect measurements they took down".

The court heard McDowell had 113 previous convictions and Mr Ballentine said his client had stayed out of trouble since 2006.

District Judge Des Perry told McDowell he was the "loser" in the case because of his "stupidity".

Mr Perry said there are ways of dealing with such things and he should have sought legal advice.

McDowell told the court he had first gone to a solicitor.

The judge had deferred sentence from February to allow the defendant to pay for the damage he caused at the store.

Mr Ballentine said the refunded sofa money will be used to pay the compensation.

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