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Armagh man who committed litany of offences during lockdown given suspended sentence

On one occasion he stole meat and cheese from a city supermarket and on another tried to barricade himself in a room while telling police to 'f**k off'

Armagh Courthouse

An Armagh man who committed a litany of offences throughout lockdown has been handed a suspended prison sentence.

The 38-year-old’s barrister told court: “This is a man with mental health issues. These are managed better when he is working and there has been nothing since November.”

Sean Francis Morton, of Callan Street, appeared for sentencing on two counts of disorderly behaviour, theft, criminal damage and resisting police.

Prosecution outlined that these charges were accrued by the defendant over four separate incidents, all of which occurred last year.

On June 18, at 11.55pm, police attended an address in Armagh after receiving reports of a disturbance.

Upon arrival, the defendant began verbally abusing officers from the window of an upstairs flat and refused to come down.

Morton then began throwing items at the police vehicle below causing significant damage to the bodywork.

He was subsequently arrested and the damage was later estimated at £2,842.13.

Then the following day, at 8.30am, police received a report of a theft from Emerson’s Supermarket in Armagh.

The culprit, who lifted meat and cheese to the value of £38.27 before leaving without paying, was identified as this defendant.

When interviewed and shown CCTV, on November 30, Morton made full admissions to the offence.

Then on September 9, at 6am, police received a report of an intoxicated male on Culdee Street in Armagh.

Officers arrived to find this defendant shouting on Culdee Drive. He was warned about his behaviour but continued and was subsequently arrested.

He was cautioned and calmed down whilst in the police vehicle, which led to him being de-arrested.

Then on November 10, at 8pm, police received a dropped 999 call from an address. Upon arrival the door was opened by a female.

Morton was observed in the hallway of the property but upon seeing officer he ran to a room and attempted to barricade himself inside, telling police to “f*** off”.

The defendant was arrested and removed from the property, but as this was done he continued to shout and threaten officers.

He attempted to headbutt one officer and limb restraints had to be used as he was conveyed to Lurgan Custody Suite.

Defence barrister Seamus Lannon asked that the dates of the offences were noted, as all had occurred during the lockdown.

He said: “This is a man with mental health issues. These are managed better when he is working and there has been nothing since November.

“He accepts that these are serious matters and he asks for the court to allow him to draw a line under them and move on.”

Deputy District Judge Laura Ivers stated: “Any of these offences would cross the custody threshold but I do bear in mind the pleas of guilty and acceptance of responsibility.”

Morton was sentenced to five months in prison suspended for a period of two years.

He was also ordered to pay restitution of £38.27 to Emerson’s Supermarket and compensation of £500 to the PSNI within 26 weeks.


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