Belfast Telegraph

West Belfast dad jailed for Deanes at Queens break-in

Gavin O'Halloran was convicted of breaking into Deane's at Queens in Belfast in August last year
Gavin O'Halloran was convicted of breaking into Deane's at Queens in Belfast in August last year

By Ashleigh McDonald

A west Belfast father-of-two has been handed a two year and nine month sentence for breaking into a city centre restaurant and stealing an employee's car.

Gavin O'Halloran, from Moyard Parade, was told he will serve 15 months of the sentence in custody followed by an 18 month period on licence.

O'Halloran was charged with breaking into the Deane's at Queen's restaurant on August 9 last year with intent to steal - a charge he admitted.

The 28-year-old was also charged with targeting the same restaurant the following day and stealing a set of car keys for a Seat Leon, which he then took and drove to nearby Elmwood Avenue.

O'Halloran admitted breaking into the restaurant on August 9 with the intention of stealing, but denied stealing the keys, taking the car and driving it away. He also denied driving while disqualified and with no insurance.

He stood trial at Belfast Crown Court on the offences he denied and was convicted by a jury in June.

During Thursday's sentencing, defence barrister Jon O'Connor told Judge David McFarland that his client had expressed remorse and issued an apology to those affected by his crimes.

This remorse, the barrister said, was evident in a pre-sentence report where O'Halloran stated "I am ashamed and disgusted with myself" and told a probation officer he wanted to stay away from drugs "on the outside" and keep out of trouble.

Mr O'Connor said O'Halloran had used his time in custody productively and has completed programmes in drug and alcohol awareness and victim awareness, as well as a bricklaying course.

Regarding the offences, Mr O'Connor pointed out there was no confrontation with staff at Deane's, there was no violence used and the car in question was returned to the owner intact.

Jailing O'Halloran,, Judge McFarland said the defendant had a "significant and relevant" criminal record and also pointed out the offences last summer were committed just two weeks after he was released from prison for prior criminality.

Citing O'Halloran's offending as being on the "lower or modest end of the criminal spectrum", the Judge noted the car was returned undamaged. The Belfast Recorder also noted O'Halloran had a "significant drugs problem", but had been attending courses in prison to address his addiction issues.

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