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Smashed up property when intoxicated causing £2k damage

AN Omagh man who was intoxicated when he smashed windows and furniture at a property, has been told that the only way he will stay out of prison is by seeking help for his alcohol problem.

Conan James Pascal Harkin (31) of Beechgrove caused £2,000 worth of damage at a man’s property.

At Omagh Magistrates Court he agreed to a two year probation order and to carry out 80 hours unpaid community service work.

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Police officers went to a property at Beechgrove in the early hours of July 27 and saw that an upstairs front window had been smashed.

They knocked the front door but there was no response and on looking through the living room window saw the defendant with a poker.

When he recognised it was the police, he dropped the poker and put his arms in the air.

Three windows at the rear of the property had also been smashed and Harkin had a four inch cut on his forearm. He is currently serving a suspended sentence which will expire in January 2023.

Defence barrister Stephen Mooney said it would be understandable for the court to impose an immediate custodial sentence and “no-one looking in could say it it was not richly deserved”.

However he suggested there was an alternative to ‘lock-up’ adding that his client has a “crippling alcohol addiction”.

Mr Mooney stated, “He has no animosity towards his victim and was at a completely low ebb and had drank himself into oblivion. He has apologised to the householder.”

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Outlining the defendant’s difficulties, Mr Mooney said he “suffers from a disease” (alcoholism) and stays on friends’ sofas and is currently in a Bed and Breakfast hoping to get permanent accommodation”.

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He urged the court to impose a probation order and said Harkin “may not be beyond the pale”.

Mr Mooney added, “Probation may help him deal with his demons and gather money to make recompense for the wrong he has done.”

District Judge Peter Prenter said he was not going to interfere with the suspended sentence Harkin is serving.

He said to the defendant, “I think probation would help. I have no doubt you would benefit from their assistance. I also want you to give something back with community service work.

“This is your last chance. It is easy for me to say, but your downfall is alcohol. You have to strive to take any assistance offered to you. It is the only way you will stay out of prison.”

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