Repeat offender jailed for ten months

Youth in court charged with having large kitchen knife in Derry e

Derry Court House

A Derry man who ‘refuses to learn’ has been handed a ten months prison sentence for repeat offending.

John Coyle, whose age was give as ‘over 21’, of St Brecan’s Park, pleaded guilty to numerous charges including driving while disqualified and without insurance on December 13, 2019.

He admitted further charges of theft on July 4 of this year, driving while disqualified and without insurance the following day and another theft on July 21.

By committing those offences he was in breach of suspended sentences.

On December 13 the defendant was observed driving in the Clooney Terrace area of the city when it was discovered that he had been disqualified.

In the early hours of July 5 he was again spotted driving while disqualified.

Another charge related to the theft of aftershave from Boots at Crescent Link.  He was captured on CCTV leaving the store without paying.

On July 21 he stole a shelf from Next Home in the same industrial estate and he was subsequently arrested.

A defence barrister said his client has a number of suspended sentences on his record and was on bail when a several offences were committed.

He recognised that the court would have to mark the seriousness of the offences.

The court was told that there was a ‘significant gap’ in offending between 2014 and 2018.

Defence counsel said his client’s behaviour is directly linked to mental health pressures citing his partner’s ‘extremely strained’ mental health issues and his mother’s recent cancer diagnosis.

He acknowledged that the court would have to impose an immediate custodial sentence but said his client has spent seven weeks in prison already and asked the judge to show discretion.

District Judge Barney McElholm said: “This man has been given chance after chance after chance and thrown every one back in the face of the court.

“He continued to drive while disqualified and uninsured and continued to commit thefts.

“It has to be an immediate custodial sentence.  This man just refuses to learn.”

Coyle received a total of ten months in prison.

His barrister later notified the court that the sentence would be appealed.

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