A youth who served a jail sentence for his part in the murder of greengrocer Harry Holland is being sent back to jail for a catalogue of crimes he committed within weeks of being freed.
Craigavon Crown Court Judge Melody McReynolds split the sentence of Patrick Joseph Steven Crossan between 18 months’ prison, and 18 months’ parole after reports from experts indicated he was a changing person.
The 20-year-old from Hillman Street, Belfast, will have to serve out the full 18-month term, which will commence after he completes half the remaining 10 months of his original four-year sentence.
Judge McReynolds ordered that when released on licence he will be subject to curfew and be under probation service supervision. She said a psychiatric report indicated a “developing maturity” within Crossan, a vulnerable young man with learning difficulties and mental health issues.
Judge McReynolds said other reports were indicative of a real progress in dealing with his substance abuse and that rehabilitation was always the best way forward in protecting the public.
Crossan admitted a total of eight charges including burglary, aggravated vehicle taking, drunk, dangerous and uninsured driving, all on October 10 last year.
Prosecutor Nicola Auret said he was at a party in a house in Glengormley where a locked bedroom door was kicked open and keys to a Nissan Qashqai taken.
A print from his trainers was found on the door, she added. Crossan accepted that while he may have kicked the door, he had no memory of taking the car keys.
Ms Auret said Crossan crashed the vehicle in the Poleglass area of Belfast after colliding with a police car as he attempted to escape.
Defence lawyer John Paul Shields said Crossan “can’t get away from his past, all the can try and do is to deal with the issues”.
Expert medical and probation reports on Crossan, added the lawyer, indicated that Crossan was now “a young man who seems to be motivated to help himself”.
Mr Shields said when Crossan was last released he was given no help to ease back into the community and had soon lapsed into substance abuse and bad company.
But he added he was “a young man who does require a lot of help and assistance when he does return to the community”.