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Busker is jailed for stealing Queen's University Belfast student's phone at knifepoint

By Ashleigh McDonald

Published 09/04/2016

Adrian Naylor (36) was found guilty by a jury earlier this year of stealing the Motorola MotoG phone from the first-year student as he walked back to the Elms Village along the Malone Road in the early hours of October 1 last year
Adrian Naylor (36) was found guilty by a jury earlier this year of stealing the Motorola MotoG phone from the first-year student as he walked back to the Elms Village along the Malone Road in the early hours of October 1 last year

A busker who was effectively living homeless in Belfast and who stole a mobile phone from a Queen's student at knifepoint has been handed a three-and-a-half year jail sentence.

Adrian Naylor (36) was found guilty by a jury earlier this year of stealing the Motorola MotoG phone from the first-year student as he walked back to the Elms Village along the Malone Road in the early hours of October 1 last year.

Naylor - whose address was given as Greenway Road in the Widnes area of Cheshire, but who was described as being homeless and living in Belfast at the time of the offence - was told by Judge Gordon Kerr QC that he will spend half the sentence in prison with the remaining 21 months on licence upon his release.

During the two-day trial at Belfast Crown Court in February, the student revealed he was walking home when he struck up a conversation with Naylor who was playing a guitar in the Lennoxvale area of the Malone Road. During the conversation, the student used a guitar tuning app on his phone to try and get a better sound from Naylor's instrument. As the student resumed his walk back to the Elms Village, Naylor brandished a kitchen knife and demanded he hand over his mobile. Naylor was apprehended in Wellington Park. While no knife was found, the stolen phone was located in an adjacent garden.

Naylor, who gave evidence at the trial, described himself as a busker. He denied having a knife or stealing the young man's phone.

It took the jury less than an hour to unanimously find the accused guilty, and he was back in court yesterday to be sentenced.

Defence barrister Conn O'Neill told Judge Kerr that Naylor lived a productive life working as a chef overseas until around six years ago, when he returned to the UK and his mother died. He was a "vulnerable individual", the barrister said, who had alcohol issues , anxiety and depression.

Noting Naylor's 23 previous convictions, Judge Kerr told him his sentence would have been six months shorter had he admitted his guilt from the outset.

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