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Man with Asperger's who damaged Belfast hotel car park barrier 'was there to help a friend'

by Alan Erwin

A man with Asperger's who caused nearly £600 worth of damage to a hotel car park barrier was there to help a friend, a court heard today.

Thomas Crossey came into contact with the blockade amid issues about a £2 parking fee at the Wellington Park in south Belfast.

The 49-year-old, of Henderson Avenue in the city, was fined £100 and ordered to pay £591 compensation.

He had been set to contest a charge of causing criminal damage to the barrier on May 15 this year.

A potential defence of acting out of necessity was being considered.

But at Belfast Magistrates' Court today his barrister confirmed the guilty plea.

The case centred on Crossey allegedly lifting the barrier after he went to the hotel due to concerns about a friend.

Defence counsel Jonny Connolly said the incident "started out as a £2 parking fee".

The barrister said: "There's no doubt he was (there) helping his friend out."

Disclosing his client's Asperger's condition, Mr Connolly added: "He's a very intelligent guy... he's been around the block and knows a bit of law."

Fining Crossey and ordering £591 compensation to the Wellington Park Hotel, District Judge Liam McNally gave him 26 weeks to pay.

He warned the defendant: "If you don't pay it you may have to serve up to 14 days in custody."

Belfast Telegraph Digital

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