Student woke to find drugged-up intruder with knife

Court
Court

A 20-year old man who broke into student accommodation in south Belfast was motivated to steal items to sell in exchange for Diazepam, a court heard on Friday.

A 20-year old man who broke into student accommodation in south Belfast was motivated to steal items to sell in exchange for Diazepam, a court heard on Friday.

James Valliday was sentenced at Belfast Crown Court to time in a Young Offenders Centre (YOC) after admitting four charges.

The father of one, who was under the influence of Diazepam when he targeted the student accommodation, was told he will serve half his sentence in custody, with the remaining 14 months on licence.

The court heard the defendant (whose address was given as Hybebank YOC) has engaged in courses and classes whilst on remand in a bid to enhance his prospects of gaining employment, and has voiced remorse for his actions.

In the early hours of January 23, 2016, police were called to premises on Mount Charles owned by Queen’s University Belfast.

An occupant woke to find Valliday standing at the end of his bed.

He left the room, with a knife tucked into his jacket.

Queen’s security guards disarmed Valliday and police arrested him.

He was found to be in possession of two key cards for Madison’s Hotel, that he later admitted stealing.

He subsequently pleaded guilty to four offences relating to the incident, including stealing the hotel key cards, breaking into the student accommodation and assaulting a security guard.

Defence barrister Declan Quinn said his client was “extremely intoxicated” on prescription drugs at the time, adding: “The only tenure of the offending was to obtain property to sell and exchange for more ‘blues’ (diazepam).”