Man broke windows on cars and school bus

Lough Ree Lifeboat searching for missing Armagh angler Daryl Burke.
Lough Ree Lifeboat searching for missing Armagh angler Daryl Burke.

A 24-year-old man who went on a ‘wanton trail of destruction’ has been sentenced to five months in prison.

Adam Johnston, Moeran Park, Portadown, appeared last Thursday at Banbridge Magistrates Court.

He admitted six charges of criminal damage on October 18 last year. These involved breaking windows of five cars and a school bus belonging to the SELB in Banbridge.

Johnston also pleaded guilty to entering as a trespasser a shed at Donard Special Needs School with intent to steal and six charges of interfering with vehicles between October 17 and October 19 last year.

For each offence he was sentenced to five months in prison. All of the sentences are to run concurrently.

The court heard that police were called to Donard School where a shed in the grounds of the school had been broken into and a window damaged.

Blood was found on the floor and through DNA Johnston was identified.

Further police inquiries revealed that vehicles parked on the Castlewellan Road had been damaged.

Again blood was found and was matched to the defendant through the data base.

When interviewed Johnston made no comment and when he was identified through DNA he again refused to make a statement.

A barrister representing Johnston said his client was acutely aware these were very serious matters.

He was aware that with his record the court would be considering immediate custody.

He handed in a testimonial from the defendant’s support officer and added that Johnston had made significant efforts to turn his life around.

The barrister said his client had moved to Portadown to try and disconnect himself from the peer group whose influence had played a part and he had reduced his alcohol intake.

He added that the officer saw some hope for Johnston and suggested that probation would help him. If he did not co-operate with probation he would be back in court and there would be an inevitable outcome.

The lawyer said that if the court thought the custody threshold had been crossed then he asked that something should be left hanging over the defendant’s head.

Deputy District Judge John Connolly said Johnston had gone on a ‘wanton trail of destruction’ and imposed immediate custody.

Later an application was made on Johnston’s behalf for him to appeal the sentence.

He was granted bail of £500 to appeal and released pending appeal.