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Court told man who stole bottle of liqueur from Sainsbury’s had gone on three-day binge

He was told to stay off alcohol, behave himself and find a job and he would not go to prison when sentenced next year

A Lurgan man has been told to stay off drink, behave and find a job in order to escape a stint behind bars.

Gary Aidan McConaghy, 34, of Downshire Avenue, pleaded guilty to theft at Craigavon Magistrates’ Court on Friday.

It was heard that on April 29, police were called to Sainsbury’s, Rushmere, after a male shoplifter had been detained by security.

Officers arrived and spoke to the defendant who apologised for stealing a bottle of Disaronno from the store.

Staff had observed McConaghy zipping up his coat jacket before leaving the store.

CCTV showed the defendant lift the bottle, put it inside his jacket and walk past the tills without making any effort to pay.

When interviewed at Lurgan Custody Suite, McConaghy made full admissions to the theft.

Defence solicitor Siun Downey stated: “The vast majority of the entries on his record are from late 2017 onwards. This is when Mr McConaghy started struggling with alcohol and his mental health.

“On the date in question, he instructs he had been abstaining for alcohol for two months before going on a three-day binge.”

She continued: “He had no idea he had walked out with the bottle and he did have the money with him to pay for it. He comes from a family that is not familiar with the legal system.

“This is completely alien to them. I ask that you do not interfere with Mr McConaghy’s liberty as this will stop him attending with Community Addictions which has been a great help to him.”

District Judge Bernie Kelly stated: “I am going to defer sentencing until January 3. What I require is an updated presentence report. I want no alcohol of any kind, not to behave in a way that police have occasion to stop you and for you to find a job.

“If you do all this I will find a way to sentence you that does not mean the immediate loss of your liberty.”

The case will return to court on January 3 for sentencing.

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