A serial burglar has been jailed for 15 months after breaking into a house in west Belfast and stealing a car which he later crashed into two other vehicles.
During a remote video link hearing on Friday, July 17, Belfast Crown Court heard that Aidan Magennis had a “formidable’’ criminal record of 90 previous convictions.
Magennis, (30), of Broom Close in Dunmurry, west Belfast, pleaded guilty to a total of nine charges which included burglary, attempted burglary, aggravated vehicle taking and dangerous driving.
He also admitted assault on police, resisting police, driving with excess alcohol, failing to provide a specimen of breath and driving without insurance.
In a written submission to the court, the prosecution said Magennis first tried to enter a house at Hannahglen Heights, in the Hannahstown area of west Belfast, in the early hours of December 27, 2019.
Minutes later he went to another house in the street where he broke in and stole a purse and a set of car keys.
The owner of this house was “awakened by the sound of breaking glass’’ and saw Magennis inside the house and tried unsuccessfully to prevent the defendant from making off in the family’s Seat Leon car.
The court heard the Seat Leon was driven dangerously in the Colin Glen area of the city, colliding with two vehicles which were later written off and crashing into a wall.
Police responded and when officers arrived on the scene, Magennis resisted one constable and assaulted a second.
His alcohol reading was 99 milligrammes per 100 millilitres of blood - 19 milligrammes over the drink-drive limit.
Belfast Recorder Judge David McFarland said Magennis had been involved in an “appalling piece of driving’’, damaging the Seat Leon, writing off two other cars he had struck and ploughing into a wall.
The judge said Magennis had a “formidable’’ criminal record of 90 offences, including nine convictions for burglary, ten for resisting police, seven assaults on police and 15 road traffic convictions.
Judge McFarland said the aggravating features in the case were that the burglary and attempted burglary had taken place at private residences, at night when the occupants were asleep and the defendant’s lengthy criminal record.
“This is a case which requires a custodial sentence,’’ said the Belfast Recorder.
Taking into account his guilty plea and the current “medical emergency’’ of Covid-19, the judge said he would discount the sentence by 37 and a half per cent.
Imposing a concurrent sentence of 30 months, Judge McFarland told Magennis he would spend 15 months in custody and 15 months on supervised licence on his release from jail.
Magennis was also banned from driving for a period of five years.