Belfast Telegraph

Woman's alarm at blade-carrying bedroom intruder in west Belfast

By Ashleigh McDonald

A young woman has told a court how she awoke to the sight of a brain-damaged intruder armed with a blade in her bedroom.

Belfast Crown Court heard how the woman (21) and her parents were asleep when Stephen McNama entered their west Belfast home with the blade tucked into the waistband of his shorts.

She told the court how she was woken by knocking and banging at the front door of her Carrigart Avenue home on June 3, 2011.

She went back to sleep, only to be woken again at around 6.30am by an intruder in her bedroom.

She said the armed man "kept mumbling to himself".

The daughter shouted at him, rousing her mother, who in turn woke her husband.

The mother said she jumped out of bed, and "as I went to open the front door, a man was standing at my door, waiting to come into my bedroom".

She said the intruder started "mumbling stuff" and she also noticed the blade down his shorts.

At this stage, her husband started to usher the man downstairs.

The intruder left the house, but returned 10 minutes later armed with a hammer, and smashed several windows and the windscreen of a parked van outside.

Around 12 hours later the mother was sweeping glass from the front of her home when she was approached by the same man.

She broke down in tears as she told the jury: "He ran straight up to me and he said ... he was going to come back and do the other van, do the house and he would come back and kill me and the rest of my family."

At a previous court hearing it was ruled that 41-year old McNama – who sustained a brain injury in 1999 which caused long-term damage to the area of his brain responsible for language and speech – was unfit to plead.

He didn't appear in the dock and the jury was told it was their role to determine whether or not he committed the criminal acts he was charged with.

McNama, from Cromwell Road in Belfast, was charged with five offences – aggravated burglary with intent to steal, two counts of making threats to kill, making threats to damage property and causing criminal damage.

The jury found him guilty of four charges. Members found him not guilty of one of the two counts of making threats to kill.

Judge David McFarland adjourned the case for two weeks, when a meeting will take place involving a probation officer and a a Belfast Health Trust official.

He said that subject to that meeting "the court will make the appropriate order".

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