A cowering drug addict found by police in the coal bunker of a house he had just burgled, was so high on a cocktail of alcohol and drugs that he thought he was being chased by someone in Vietnam, a court was told yesterday
Robert John Fleming was jailed for three years after he admitted falsely imprisoning, threatening and intimidating a family of three in their Limavady home during an terrifying aggravated burglary.
Fleming, (23), had claimed he was hallucinating that he was being chased in Vietnam when he forced his way into the family's Greystone Park home after setting fire to their garden shed on November 12 last year.
He pretended to have a gun and he assaulted the houseowner whose frightened wife then locked herself in a toilet.
Fleming, from Sperrin Road in Limavady, was eventually overpowered by the houseowner who sustained injuries to his face during the struggle. Fleming then fled the house after attempting to set fire to curtains and a flycatcher, and hid in the coal bunker.
Londonderry Crown Court was told that Fleming's behaviour beforehand had been so unstable and erratic that his mother had reported him to the police.
He was eventually tracked down to the Greystone Park|house when members of a police patrol noticed the garden shed on fire.
Judge Grant told Fleming there was “absolutely no excuse for your behaviour which undoubtedly caused dreadful upset to your innocent victims”.
Judge Grant said: “In your pre-sentence report, you recognised the impact that your actions had on the victims.
“You told the probation officer that you were hallucinating and that you thought you were in Vietnam and that somebody was coming to get you.
“There is no excuse for your behaviour, which caused dreadful upset to the victims.”
Fleming will spend 18 months of his three year sentence in jail and 18 months on licence.