Man jailed for drug-fuelled robbery spree

A 29-year-old man who targeted five Belfast businesses in a drug-induced crime spree whilst armed with various weapons including a saw has begun a seven-year sentence.

By The Newsroom
Thursday, 19th April 2018, 4:34 pm
Updated Thursday, 19th April 2018, 4:36 pm

In a period lasting less than 24 hours, William Meekin carried out two robberies and attempted a further three, both in the Shankill area and in the east of the city.

Meekin, who Belfast Crown Court heard has an extremely low IQ, was handed the seven-year sentence by Judge McFarland, who spoke of the need to protect small businesses and their employees.

From Abbey Road in Millisle, Meekin will spend half his sentence in prison, and the remainder on licence.

The court heard that Meekin armed himself with various weapons such as a knife, a saw and a Bacardi Breezer bottle which he used to threaten staff.

Crown barrister Robin Steer told the court all five incidents were carried out between the late evening of Monday February 20 and the following afternoon, when he was arrested after being locked in a convenience store on the Beersbridge Road by an employee.

Branding the offences as “rather unsophisticated but including the use of a weapon”, Mr Steer said Meekin’s extremely low IQ placed him in a category of ‘moderate learning disability’.

Defence barrister Jonny Connolly said that while Meekin’s offending was unacceptable, he asked the court to “take a step back” and access his client’s behaviour against a backdrop of low intelligence and drug addiction.