A self-confessed cocaine addict, who broke through two locked doors inside a supermarket, filled a shopping trolley with the store’s safe and wheeled it out through a side door, has been jailed for ten months at Dungannon Magistrate’s Court.
Father-of-two Owen Maughan, with an address at Maghaberry Prison, appeared by video link at the court on Wednesday.
On March 4, 2013, CCTV footage from a Spar shop in Fivemiletown captured the 38-year-old trespassing in a staff-only area and breaking through two doors to make off with the safe. During the break-in, he caused £2,780 worth of damage.
Maughan was resident in Mullingar at the time and managed to evade police arrest for two years. On one occasion, he told police officers that he was waiting on the birth of a child, and could not be interviewed.
His defence solicitor told the court that Maughan had been serving a lengthy prison sentence in the South during that time.
However, Judge John Meehan accused Maughan of deliberately evading arrest for three years.
The defending solicitor explained that Maughan had endured a very difficult upbringing. He struggled in education and for a time was in residential care. Later he spent time living rough in Dublin.
At the time of the burglary he was associating with some very negative peer groups and had a cocaine habit, which he fed through criminal behaviour.
The solicitor claimed that Maughan showed ‘some genuine remorse’ and apologised to the court for his offences. He was also abstaining from drugs and seeking professional help for his addiction.
However, Judge Meehan asked on what grounds had the solicitor made the claims that Maughan was drug-free, with the solicitor subsequently claiming that it was unverified by anyone other than Maughan.
Judge Meehan accused Maughan of being a long-term thief, who had committed an audacious and brutal robbery. He also pointed out that the probation report said Maughan had presented as ‘frustrated and evasive’.
“In short, I see no mitigation in terms of your insight into your behaviour, and the delay in bringing this case to court is entirely down to your own behaviour”, said the judge, who also pointed out that the defendant had been charged with theft, robbery and trespass in the Republic of Ireland. The safe, which was valued at over £2,000, has never been recovered.
He sentenced Maughan to nine months in jail for theft and ten months for criminal damage, with the two sentences to run concurrently. He also ordered Maughan to pay a compensation order of £2,780.