Belfast Telegraph

Man sentenced after being caught burgling north Belfast flat wearing socks on his hands

By Ashleigh McDonald

A 24-year old man caught by police burgling a flat in north Belfast whilst wearing socks on his hands was sentenced on Monday for the break-in.

Belfast Crown Court heard that during the burglary, Michael Leo McMillan "stopped to engage" in inhaling aerosol from an air freshener.

McMillan - who appeared in court with 70 previous convictions and whose address was given as HMP Maghaberry - was handed a sentence of two years and five months for burgling and ransacking an apartment in the Duncairn area of the city last May.

Saying McMillan's addiction to drink and drugs was the "root cause" of his offending, Judge Patricia Smyth told him he will serve half the sentence in prison, with the remainder on supervised licence.

The court heard McMillan was so noisy during the break-in that he alerted the occupant of the flat below, who contacted police just before midnight on May 22, 2017.

When police arrived at the scene, they caught McMillan in the property and wearing socks on his hands. He was searched and had several items belonging to the householder, which were later returned.

Prosecuting barrister Simon Jenkins revealed McMillan used a fire extinguisher to smash the front door of the flat. Once inside, he caused further damage, and also left his iPhone in a bedroom.

When arrested, McMillan confirmed the phone was his, but refused to answer any further questions. He later admitted a charge of burglary.

Defence barrister Martin Morgan said McMillan had experienced trauma in his childhood - including witnessing the death of his brother - which in turn led to drug and alcohol misuse.

Telling the court it was Probation's view that McMillan had "unresolved grief issues", Mr Morgan said: "The nemesis in his background is the addiction issue."

Regarding the offence, Mr Morgan spoke of a complete lack of sophistication, and also revealed McMillan knew no-one was in at the time, meaning there was no confrontation with the occupant.

Sending McMillan to prison, he was told by Judge Smyth that he had paid no respect to the occupant whose home he damaged, or their privacy. The Judge said she also accepted the break-in was "unsophisticated and "didn't have the normal trappings of a professional burglary."

Belfast Telegraph Digital

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