‘Problem drinker’ who was ‘complete nuisance’ to Ballyronan residents, shop owners and police spared jail

Symbol of law and justice in the empty courtroom, law and justice concept.
Symbol of law and justice in the empty courtroom, law and justice concept.

A former south Derry woman has been warned by the District Judge that if she continued offending she would be sent to prison.

Noreen Mallon, 47, with an address at Armagh Road, Newtownhamilton, Newry, was given an eight-month jail sentence, suspended for three years.

Mallon was also fined a total of £105 and banned from driving for four years when she appeared before Magherafelt Magistrates Court.

She admitted a catalogue of offences including harassment, burglary, resisting police, criminal damage, motoring offences including driving with excess alcohol and the theft of alcohol from pubs in the Ballyronan area on various dates in May and June.

While accepting defendant has an alcohol problem, District Judge Alan White told her that she had been a “complete nuisance” to the local community.

“Continue to offend and you’re going to go into custody,” he said. “The court will have no alternative.”

Outlining the offences, a prosecuting lawyer said on June 2 this year police were called to an address in Ballyronan after a complaint that Mallon had used a garden hose to spray into a neighbour’s garden damaging her daughter’s ‘A’ level course work.

The barrister said Mallon was intoxicated and police struggled for 20 minutes to get her out of her house.

Counsel said on June 26 it was reported by members of the public that a car was being driven in an erratic manner by a female.

She explained police signalled for the vehicle to stop, but it continued to drive erratically, and the defendant was later stopped walking away from the vehicle.

The barrister said Mallon had the keys of the vehicle in her possession. She later provided a breath specimen which showed an alcoholic count of 92mgs.

Continuing, counsel said on dates in May the defendant called at a number of off licenses and a bar in Ballyronan and left the premises without paying for bottles and cans of alcohol.

Pleading with the court not to send defendant to prison, a defence barrister said all matters involved alcohol.

“This is a lady who has a very bad problem with alcohol,” he stressed.

He said that she had been released from Holywell to attend court and was due to take part in a three-week addiction programme in the hospital. “She is trying to break her addiction,” he said.

Counsel claimed that the offences were not the most serious to come before the court and were more a case of the defendant making a nuisance of herself to local residents in Ballyronan, the police and shop owners.

In her favour she is trying to break her alcohol addiction and has moved away from the area, he added.