Drinker who threw 10 litres of paint over Botanic Inn escapes jail

Botanic Inn
Botanic Inn

A drinker escaped jail yesterday for throwing 10 litres of paint over a popular Belfast bar after being denied entry.

Imposing a three-month suspended prison sentence on Gary Neill, a judge said he deserved credit for his work with alcohol addiction services.

The 42-year-old, of Wandsworth Crescent, Belfast, was convicted of criminal damage to the Botanic Inn.

He emptied a paint pot over the front of the premises in March last year.

At the time he had no memory of the incident because he had taken so much drink.

Prosecutors said he later admitted the offence, which caused £480 worth of damage, after he was shown CCTV footage by police. Belfast Magistrates’ Court also heard that a receipt for purchase of the paint was also discovered.

During a previous appearance it was set out how he “took umbrage” at not being served any more drink in the bar.

He decided to go back the next day and carry out the paint attack.

Sentencing was deferred at that stage for an assessment of his efforts to deal with drink-related issues.

In court yesterday defence lawyer Francine Quinn said: “He’s ashamed of himself and his behaviour on that morning.” She stressed, however, that it had led to him dealing with his problems.

District Judge Fiona Bagnall said: “If he comes back again he knows what’s going to happen to him.”