Belfast Telegraph

Serial offender faces the music for break-in at orchestra's offices

By John Cassidy

A north Belfast man with more than 200 convictions has been jailed for a year for breaking into the offices of the Ulster Youth Orchestra.

Gerard Magee (35), of Parkend Street, pleaded guilty to a single charge of burglary with intent to steal.

Belfast Crown Court yesterday heard that a city centre multi-store office building at 109-113 Royal Avenue was broken into on November 30, 2015.

Prosecutor Stephen McCourt said that Magee's blood was found on a broken window pane smashed to gain entry to the premises and it was matched to his DNA.

"One office was entered and there was evidence that an attempt was made to enter another office in the complex,'' said Mr McCourt.

Belfast Recorder Judge David McFarland was told that Magee answered "no comment'' to all questions put to him by police following his arrest.

The court heard that Magee had an extensive criminal record totalling 201 convictions, including 52 for theft, six of robbery and six for burglary.

Defence barrister Con O'Neill said Magee had a history of "addiction issues'' and said those difficulties led to him "free falling" through life.

He added that there had been a number of incidents of self-harming by Magee and there had been "deliberate attempts to take his own life''.

"Until he tackles his demons and his addiction issues, his life will be like a revolving door in and out of prison,'' said the defence barrister.

Judge McFarland said it appeared the burglary at the premises of the Ulster Youth Orchestra was "inquisitive rather than a musical crime''.

The judge told the court that the aggravating factor in the case was Magee's criminal record, with the majority of convictions for dishonesty offences.

The Belfast Recorder handed Magee a two-year sentence, saying he would spend 12 months in custody and a further 12 months on supervised licence following his release from custody.

Belfast Telegraph

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