Burglar with 76 convictions urged to ‘grow up’

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A 24-year old man with 76 convictions on his criminal record was urged to “grow up” by a Crown Court judge or risk spending increasingly longer periods of his life in prison.

Kevin Barry Devenney was jailed for offences arising from a creeper burglary in Belfast last February.

Devenney appeared at Belfast Crown Court on February 3, where he admitted six offences - including burglary, aggravated vehicle taking and driving whilst disqualified. From Mill Road in Newtownabbey, Devenney was handed a sentence of three and a half years by Judge Geoffrey Miller QC, who said the sentence would be split between 21 months in custody and 18 months on licence upon his release. He was also banned from driving for five years. After being told about Devenney’s history of drugs misuse, his criminal record and the fact he has spent a large period of his life in custody, Judge Miller told the defendant: “Unless you grow up, you are going to spend, if you live long enough, the remainder of your life going in and out of jail for increasing periods.”

He was jailed for breaking into a house in the Oldpark area, whilst the householder slept. Prosecutor Simon Jenkins said the occupant was woken during the incident. She looked out her window and saw her car being driven backwards and forwards before being crashed into fence then a gas box at the front of her house. Her handbag was also taken. When Devenney was stopped a short time later in the area carrying the stolen handbag. When stopped, police noted he displayed signs of being intoxicated. Defence barrister Jon Connolly told the court his client suffered from issues including an adjustment disorder, adding that due to the amount of time Devenney has spent in custody, he was starting to grow up.

Judge Miller advised Devenney to address his substance misuse and recommended that as part of his period on licence, he attend a drugs and alcohol treatment programme.