Two men involved in the hijacking of a car from a female motorist who had her vehicle stolen at knife-point were jailed today for the “very serious offence.”
Barry Anthony McGuinness (29) and 24-year old Anthony Thomas Brady were each handed a four-year sentence after they admitted hijacking a Peugeot 208 from the centre of Belfast in November 2014.
Both McGuinness, from Alliance Avenue in Belfast, and Brady, of no fixed abode, were told they will serve two years in prison, with the remaining two years on licence when they are released from custody.
Also involved in the incident was Barry McGuinness’s sister Samantha McGuinness. The 24-year old, from Mullacreevie Park in Armagh, received an 18-month sentence, which was suspended for two years.
All three admitted offences linked to the incident, including aggravated vehicle taking.
Today’s sentencing at Belfast Crown Court was in relation to the hijacking of the vehicle stolen in Tomb Street on November 24th, 2014.
A woman was forced from her car after she was confronted by a man armed with a Stanley knife. She threw her keys from the vehicle, which were picked by the armed man - Barry McGuinness - who then got into the driver’s seat.
Brady and Samantha McGuinness then got into the car which was then driven from the scene. The vehicle was found abandoned on the Drumilly Road in Armagh after it was crashed into a hedge.
The court heard that the female motorist only had the car a few weeks before it was taken, and it contained personal items which were stolen along with the car. She also revealed in a subsequent statement that the incident had been “terrifying” for her.
Sentencing the trio today, Judge Gordon Kerr QC branded the hijacking as a “very serious offence”.
The Judge said father-of-three Barry McGuinness came before the court with 30 previous convictions and has shown a “failure to learn from previous court appearance.” Noting the defendant had a “transient and unsettled upbringing”, Judge Kerr spoke of a long history of cocaine use as well as psychiatric issues.
As well as jailing McGuinness, Judge Kerr also banned him from driving for five years.
Regarding his sister Samantha, the Judge said he believed she had “followed” her brother and “went along with him” on the day in question. Pointing out she faced less serious charges - including aiding and abetting the hijacking of the car - Judge Kerr said she suffered from an “emotionally unstable personality disorder.”
Telling her he was giving her “one last chance”, Judge Kerr handed her a suspended sentence and warned her to keep out of trouble.
Brady, the Judge revealed, came before the court with 98 previous conviction, and with “severe substance and alcohol issues.” Branding his record as “appalling,” Judge Kerr said Brady was “not receptive to any form of treatment, and the only option is to send him to prison.”