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Alleged Belfast burglar may have pretended he was unconscious after falling off roof, court told

An alleged burglar taken to hospital after plunging from a roof may have been faking unconsciousness, the High Court in Belfast has heard.

Declan McNally was caught by police before he hit the ground at offices in south Belfast where he is accused of staging a break-in last month.

Prosecutor Fiona O'Kane said the 35-year-old was then brought to the Royal Victoria Hospital, where a nurse suspected his unresponsive state was being feigned.

"When pressure was applied to the appropriate point he became immediately conscious, irate and spat at a police officer," Mrs O'Kane claimed.

McNally, whose address was given as HMP Magilligan, faces charges of burglary and assault on police.

He was arrested in the early hours of February 9 at business premises on the Donegall Road were a number of community groups are based. The court heard an intruder broke a window and entered into the Sure Start offices.

When police arrived McNally had allegedly climbed out onto a first floor balcony and refused to come down.

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Mrs O'Kane contended: "He appeared to collapse and rolled off the roof, causing officers to catch him before he hit the ground."

She added that damage had been caused inside the building, including to Christian Fellowship facilities housed there.

Barry Gibson, defending, said McNally will accept trespassing, but denies any intent to burgle the premises.

Referring to his client's ongoing battle with alcohol, the barrister claimed the incident occurred during a relapse.

"This was a cry for help, he was attempting to throw himself off the building," Mr Gibson submitted.

"It was only due to the good fortune of police catching him that he didn't cause real harm to himself."

Granting bail to live at an address in Belgast, Mr Justice Scoffield banned McNally from entering the Donegall Road.

He told the accused: "You're getting the benefit of the doubt here, I hope the trust reposed in you will not be abused."

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