Belfast Telegraph

Wanted man worked yards from Belfast police station

Belfast Magistrates' Court.
Belfast Magistrates' Court.

By Alan Erwin

An alleged burglar who went missing for nearly two years was "hiding in plain sight" at work in a restaurant just yards from a Belfast police station, the High Court heard on Tuesday.

Krzysztof Sadalski, 32, is accused of breaking into sheltered housing in the east of the city back in October 2017 to steal cash and bank cards.

Prosecutors claimed the Polish national tried to punch a woman living there when she attempted to stop him.

He was later detained after being seen at an ATM machine with cards, it was alleged.

Sadalski, of Vara Drive in Belfast, faces charges of burglary and assault occasioning actual bodily harm.

He was subsequently released, but failed to turn up for scheduled court appearances.

Crown lawyer Laura Ievers said the accused was only arrested again in June this year following alleged assault and criminal damage incidents in Lisburn, Co Antrim.

He is also charged with the theft of a soft drink from a Poundland store in the city.

As Sadalski applied for bail, Mr Justice McAlinden expressed concern that he previously "disappeared off the radar" for nearly two years.

Defence barrister Peter Coiley insisted his client was no "master criminal".

In a reference to Sherlock Holmes' fictional arch-enemy, the judge replied: "Nobody is suggesting he's Moriarty, but that doesn't mean he should be allowed to blunder his way from one crime scene to another."

But Mr Coiley maintained that he had remained in Belfast, despite the potential opportunity to abscond.

Instead, counsel disclosed, his client was holding down a job in a restaurant just across the road from the courthouse and neighbouring Musgrave Street PSNI Station.

"If ever there was a case of a man hiding in plain sight, that was this man," the barrister contended.

"There is no suggestion he took the opportunity to flee the jurisdiction."

Bail was refused, however, due to the risk of flight.

Mr Justice McAlinden said: "I'm satisfied this individual will avail of any opportunity to avoid a trial."

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