Belfast Telegraph

Paranoid schizophrenic accused of breaking into house 'acted after hearing voices'

A paranoid schizophrenic accused of breaking into a doctor's home in the middle of the night acted after hearing voices, the High Court heard today.

Dalton Ryan tried to get into the waterfront property in Holywood, Co Down because he wrongly feared he was being chased, his lawyer claimed.

The 31-year-old, of Firmount Crescent in the town, is one of two men suspected of the intrustion last week.

Both Ryan and Connor Mills (21) of Strand Avenue, Holywood, are charged with burglary and criminal damage.

Prosecutors said the victim was woken by an internal alarm system at his Clanbrassil Road home early on June 6.

He discovered a locked door had been damaged and opened. The keys to his property were missing.

An ornate marble stone used to keep a conservatory shut and regarded as too heavy for one person to lift had also been moved around 10 feet.

Less than half an hour later police stopped both accused in a nearby park, the court heard.

A set of keys to the house were found on Ryan, the court heard.

Despite both men denying the burglary, prosecution lawyer Suzanne Russell opposed their joint application for bail due to the risk of re-offending.

Defence barrister Michael Boyd said Ryan has abandoned a "cock and bull story" that someone had slipped the keys into his coat, but insists he never intended to steal anything.

He said the two accused had spent the day drinking together before separating as they walked back from the seafront.

Ryan was described as a paranoid schizophrenic who then suffered "an episode".

Mr Boyd said: "He left the company of Mr Mills, began to hear voices and made his way through several gardens trying to escape from persons he believed incorrectly were chasing him.

"He came to the house in question, tried to effect entry to the house, moved the heavy stone on his own and in the process hurt his back."

It was claimed that Ryan doesn't remember why the keys were taken, but never intended to steal anything.

He was found later by Mills who, according to Mr Boyd, faces a "flimsy" case lacking any evidence of being at the scene.

Mr Justice Treacy refused bail to Mills but decided to release Ryan.

Ordering a medical report on him, the judge said: "The fact that somebody with that condition enters somebody's house in the early hours of the morning, having consumed alcohol, is a very worrying feature of the case."

Imposing a curfew, electronic tagging and ban on any contact with the victim, Mr Justice Treacy stressed that Ryan's bail would be reviewed again later this month.

Belfast Telegraph Digital


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