A 23-year-old man who has been placed into witness protection in Enniskillen after he was attacked by paramilitaries has been jailed following a litany of shoplifting offences.
Gary Russell Edward McMullan and his girlfriend Orlaith McCrory from Cleenish Park, Enniskillen, pleaded guilty to stealing clothes from a number of stores in the town.
McMullan, of Hillman Street in north Belfast was jailed for six months after he was convicted of five counts of theft, two counts of common assault and one count of tampering with a car.
Outlining the offences to the court, a prosecutor explained that on September 28 last year, police received a compliant from staff at Heatons store in Enniskillen at approximately 4.10pm.
CCTV footage showed the defendant and his girlfriend stealing a grey jumper worth £12 from the store but it wasn’t until January 8 when the pair were in Enniskillen Police Station that they were recognised from the footage.
McMullan told them he couldn’t remember what he was doing in September due to drug use but admitted having the same type of jumper.
The court was told that on October 18 shortly before 8.30pm, police were called to Semi Chem in the Erneside Shopping Centre, were staff described how four youths, two males and two female, went into the store.
One of the youths was identified by a staff members while a description, matching that of McMullan was given to police.
The court heard how McMullan picked up two cosmetic gift sets, worth £48.50 and handed it to his friend and the pair walked out of the store without paying for them.
McMullan was later arrested for the theft and despite a police search of his home, none of the stolen items were recovered.
A further incident took place on January 31 in which police were contacted by staff at Tesco in Enniskillen.
Upon arrival, a security guard told officers that they spotted the defendant and another male on CCTV footage removing a number of DVDs and placing them into a black rucksack.
The pair were stopped as they left the store and were asked to take the DVDs, worth £54, out of the bag.
The court also heard that on January 8 this year, staff at DV8 in Enniskillen saw McCrory and McMullan pulling clothes from a rail.
They had re-usable shopping bags which they had placed on the ground beside them and a short time later, when staff checked the area, they discovered three empty hangers on the rail which were not there before. They spoke to the pair outside the shop and were verbally abused.
The police were contacted and four stolen T-shirts, worth £45, were found in McCrory’s handbag. McMullan said he had put them in the handbag and they had both knowingly left the store without paying for the items.
A prosecutor told the court that shortly after 4pm on November 22, police were called to Heatons store in Enniskillen.
The officers were told that around 3.40pm a man and woman had come into the shop with a large, empty holdall but when they left the holdall was full and it set off an alarm.
CCTV footage showed the pair putting sports and children’s clothing into the holdall and leaving without making attempts to pay for the items.
The next day the pair were arrested for theft and going equipped for theft with the holdall.
They were shown the CCTV recording of the theft but made no comment and despite a police search of their home, nothing was found. The stolen clothes were valued at £139.
The prosecutor went on to say that in the early hours of October 27, last year, police received a report of a disturbance at The Diamond in Enniskillen.
Two people told officers they had been assaulted and pointed out McMullan and his girlfriend. The pair were highly aggressive as officers questioned the accused about the offence with McCrory shouting in to the face of an officer: “Who are you talking to you black bastard?”
A defence solicitor for McMullan told the court that her client was remorseful for the incidents.
She explained that the defendant came to Enniskillen under difficult circumstances.
“He found a shotgun in his back yard and handed it in to police but when the paramilitaries realised what he had done he was assaulted,” she explained.
“He was placed under witness protection and this was a difficult situation and he had no support. From the ages of eight until he was 14 he was sexually abused and an infant brother passed away around the time he was assaulted.
“There was a sense of desperation when he began to do this and he has since moved back to Belfast.”
District Judge Nigel Broderick jailed McMullan for six months and ordered him to pay fines totalling £470.
He will also face a further three months in prison in a separate offence.
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