I think I gave away a lot of the £10,000, says Belfast burglar

The case was heard at Belfast Crown Court
The case was heard at Belfast Crown Court

A self-confessed burglar who got thousands of pounds more than he expected after breaking into Belfast’s oldest bar in January thinks he gave a lot of the cash away, a court heard yesterday.

Belfast Crown Court heard that Stephen Francis Cornelius Brady, from Divis Tower, Belfast, whose previous burglaries normally netted him “just modest sums”, took over £10,000 from the office safe of Whites Tavern.

However, Brady, who went on a drinks and drugs binge, then woke up in hospital four days later and all the money was gone.

He later told police he thought he may have given most of the £10,136 away.

Brady, with 145 previous convictions, and already serving 18 months for two subsequent burglaries, was given a concurrent eight-month jail term.

Judge Sandra Crawford said an aggravating feature included the significant amount of monies taken in the January 25 burglary, although she accepted Brady was “fortuitous” that the safe contained the entire week’s takings of the Winecellar Entry bar.

Brady’s history of offending, the judge said, was alcohol related and as such she did not regard him as a professional safe-breaker, although in this case there was “an element of foresight” on his part.

However, Judge Crawford said the principle mitigating factor was his plea of guilty.

His plan to burgle the bar was hatched after Brady once spotted a member of staff taking cash to an upstairs office.

On the night of the burglary he was captured on CCTV entering the office, after first breaking his way in through the roof, then office ceiling.

However, he injured himself during the break-in.

Blood recovered from the scene was later found to match Brady’s.