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Northern Ireland thief with 'atrocious' record gets 18 months

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Among the premises targeted by Luke Wall was a funeral home and a pharmacy

Among the premises targeted by Luke Wall was a funeral home and a pharmacy

Among the premises targeted by Luke Wall was a funeral home and a pharmacy

A 27-year-old man with an "atrocious" criminal record was jailed on Friday for a spate of offences committed in the Newry area.

Among the premises targeted by Luke Wall was a funeral home and a pharmacy.

Wall, of no fixed abode, appeared at Newry Crown Court, sitting in Belfast, via a video-link with Maghaberry. He was handed an 18-month sentence, divided equally between custody and licence, by Judge Gordon Kerr QC.

An additional month's custody was imposed after Wall admitted assaulting a detention officer.

On June 26 last year Wall and a female entered Camlough Pharmacy and stole a mobile phone and purse from the staff area. When CCTV was later checked it showed Wall carrying out the offence.

When he was arrested a week later Wall became agitated in custody and started banging his head off a wall. When a detention officer tried to restrain him he was struck several times, resulting in a cut above his eye.

On June 28 Wall was spotted by staff in the reception area of the Heaney Keenan Funeral Homey. He asked for a business card and left, but was seen again in the coffin showroom area.

He had gained access by walking down an alleyway at the side of the premises and entering via the fire exit, and when challenged he fled the scene.

On June 30 police received reports of a male acting suspiciously on the Old Warrenpoint Road, and when officers arrived Wall was located in the garden of a property and arrested.

The resident saw Wall walking across her back garden and trying the conservatory door, which was locked. Wall beckoned for the women to come to her front door, but she opened a window and he told her he was looking for someone before walking away.

When arrested and searched Wall was found to be in possession of documents from a nearby family centre. When interviewed, Wall claimed he had been in the area for an "entirely innocent reason".

As he sentenced Wall for five offences including burglary and attempted burglary, Judge Kerr branded his criminal record as "atrocious".

The judge said he was giving Kerr a discount for this plea during the Covid crisis, and accepted that time in custody during the medical emergency was "more onerous and more unpleasant than otherwise is the case".

Belfast Telegraph