A Belfast man with an “appalling” criminal record has been handed a three-year sentence for breaking into a house and stealing items including three NI Hospice charity boxes.
Belfast Crown Court heard the occupant – a woman in her 60s – has been left with her “confidence and peace of mind severely dented” by the break-in last July.
Mark Alexander Fitzpatrick, from Ramoan Drive, admitted breaking into the woman’s west Belfast home and stealing a number of items, including her wedding and engagement rings as well as electrical equipment including iPads and phones belonging to her foster children.
The 33-year-old, who has 147 previous convictions – 52 of which are for burglary – will spend half the sentence in prison, with the remaining 18 months on licence.
Branding Fitzpatrick as a “persistent offender”, Her Honour Judge McCaffrey said she accepted the incident was neither pre-planned nor sophisticated. But she told him: “Your record for burglary is, quite simply, appalling.”