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Serial burglar jailed for £35,000 jewellery raid at National Trust-owned Mount Stewart

By Ashleigh McDonald

Published 26/05/2016

Court: Carlo Holmes
Court: Carlo Holmes

A prolific burglar who stole £35,000 of jewellery from the National Trust-owned Mount Stewart stately home has been jailed.

Carlo Holmes, who has 112 previous convictions, will serve half of his 30-month sentence in prison and the rest on licence.

CCTV captured the 61-year-old, from Cupar Street in west Belfast, acting like a normal visitor to the 19th century property before entering the private quarters of Lady Rose Lauritzen on May 17 last year.

Footage played to Downpatrick Crown Court showed him leaving the building with his coat "bulging" with stolen items including rings, earrings and a brooch.

Holmes was arrested at Belfast International Airport on May 31 and found to have £1,785 in cash. He initially denied raiding Mount Stewart, before owning up to the crime.

In mitigation, defence barrister Conan Rea said that, at the age of 61, any period his client spent away from his family would be "precious" time lost.

Describing the offence as "neither a pure domestic burglary nor a commercial burglary, but somewhere between", Mr Rea pointed out it occurred during the day when there was no one in the private living quarters.

He also highlighted that his client was sorry, and was "someone who appears to be coming to a realisation that, at his time of life, he needs to stop".

Jailing Holmes, Judge Fowler said that some of the items, which have not been recovered, were "irreplaceable and of considerable sentimental value".

He additionally warned Holmes that if he continued to offend he faced longer periods in custody, which meant longer periods away from his family - a matter, the judge added, that was entirely up to the defendant.

Mr Fowler also ruled that the £1,785 found on Holmes when he was arrested at the airport should be paid, via a compensation order, to Lady Lauritzen.

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