A 36-year old former hurler who injured a woman's finger whilst stealing her car from outside her south Belfast home was jailed today.
Paul McQuade was handed a two-year sentence which was divided equally between prison and licence by Judge Richard Greene QC.
McQuade — who appeared at Belfast Crown Court via a videolink with Maghaberry — admitted offences including robbery and aggravated vehicle taking.
From Fisherman's Lane in Killough, McQuade represented his county in a minor hurling league until an addiction to drugs and decline in fitness ended any progression in the sport.
The Co Down man pleaded guilty to five offences he committed on November 11, 2020.
At around 9pm, a woman was unloading items from her parked car and carrying them into her home in the Lisburn Road area of Belfast when she was approached by McQuade.
She had the car keys in her hand, and was ordered to hand them over by McQuade, who elbowed her in the stomach.
She initially refused to hand the keys over, but during a struggle with McQuade she sustained a hand wound and a fingernail was pratically ripped off.
When McQuade moved his hand into his pocket, the woman was fearful that he had access to a weapon — and at that point she gave him the keys to her Volkswagen Polo.
He made off in the vehicle, which was spotted by police being driven in Lurgan around 50 minutes later.
The car was stopped by police and displayed several areas of damage including smashed lights, a partially detached wing mirror and a large dent.
McQuade began shouting and swearing at police and displayed signs he was intoxicated. When arrested, it emerged he was banned from driving, and he refused to undergo a breath test.
During interview, he said he had drunk three bottles of red wine. He also said the version of events given by the woman whose car he stole was 'probably correct.'
As he sentenced McQuade at Belfast Crown Court, Judge Greene said this woman was targeted in the darkness and that violence was used.
Judge Greene said that whilst he accepted McQuade had shown remorse, he also noted the defendant had 45 previous convictions — which were linked to an "established history of addiction" that included the use of heroin.
As well as being jailed, McQuade was also disqualified from driving for six years.