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Burglary accused was so deranged on drugs he had to be Tasered, court told

By Alan Erwin

Published 01/08/2015

The cost of damage to the pensioner’s house has been put at £10,000
The cost of damage to the pensioner’s house has been put at £10,000

A burglar was so "deranged" on drugs he had to be subdued with a Taser stun gun, the High Court heard.

Police only managed to detain Jackie Kirkwood after he had caused £10,000 worth of damage to an unoccupied pensioner's house in Lisburn, Co Antrim, it was claimed.

The 38-year-old is also accused of smashing his way into the neighbouring home of a mother with a disabled child the same night.

Kirkwood, of Mersey Street in Belfast, faces charges of aggravated burglary and burglary with intent to steal on July 24.

Refusing his application for bail, Lord Justice Gillen described the alleged offences as "absolutely terrifying".

The defendant allegedly gained entry to the woman's house on Tirowen Way by kicking in glass panels around the front door.

Prosecution counsel Philip Henry said she was woken by the noise and screamed at Kirkwood to leave after discovering him in her hallway.

He then allegedly went next door and broke into the home of a retired 74-year-old man, who was away at the time.

When police arrived they noticed he had a knife with a six-inch blade, the court heard.

Mr Henry said an armed response unit was called to the scene as Kirkwood continued to throw items around the house.

The accused remained inside during a two-hour operation that ended in his arrest.

"Essentially, he destroys the inside of the property, smashing virtually every window in the house and damaging every room, throwing furniture out the windows," the prosecutor said.

"He injured himself in the process, there was heavy blood staining to every single room. It's estimated the damage caused is in the region of £10,000."

The court was told police were set to enter the property, but instead detained Kirkwood as he tried to exit through an upstairs window.

He later claimed to have been at a party and taken a white powdered substance believing it was cocaine. Instead, he said, it made him feel paranoid and fearing he was being chased. According to Kirkwood's account, he went into the woman's home crying for help - a claim disputed by the prosecution.

Richard McConkey, defending, said Kirkwood thought he had been taking a class A substance that night.

Mr McConkey questioned how it could be proven Kirkwood had any intention to steal from the houses. He contended: "When in there he's in such a deranged state that when police catch up with him he has to be Tasered."

But bail was denied based on the risk of reoffending.

Lord Justice Gillen said it had been "absolutely terrifying for a young single mother with a child suffering a disability to be confronted by a man in the early hours of the morning who kicked through panels to get into her house".

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