Went to police and confessed

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A 27-year-old man who walked into Banbridge police station and voluntarily admitted a number of offences said he ‘didn’t intend to be a criminal any more’ during a bail application last Thursday at the local court.

Sean Paul O’Callaghan, Erindale Terrace, Banbridge, appeared in court by way of videolink from Maghaberry prison.

He is charged with entering as a trespasser Dynamic Design Consultants in Banbridge on February 20 this year with intent to steal.

On the same date he is accused of entering commercial premises at 20A Newry Street, Banbridge, and stealing a cash box containing £280 and 180 Euros, entering Todds Furniture Place on Newry Street with intent to steal and attempting to enter Supervalu.

O’Callaghan is charged with attempting to rob an employee of Boyle’s Bingo, Newry, of cash on December 22 last year and that he had a knife with him. It is also alleged that he stole £100 in cash belonging to Quinn’s Gaming Machines, Banbridge, on February 12 this year.

He is further charged that on January 7 he attempted to enter CJs Snooker Club, Banbridge, with intent to steal.

Last Thursday’s court heard that O’Callaghan presented himself at Banbridge police station in February and had been in custody since then. This was his first application for bail.

Opposing bail a detective constable said the defendant admitted a number of offences when he handed himself in on February 25.

He explained that O’Callaghan admitted robbery at a bingo hall where he brandished a knife. He later sent flowers and a sympathy card signed with his own name to the bingo hall.

The officer said O’Callaghan had an extensive record and an address put forward for him was with a lady who was well known to police.

He said there was a possibility of re-offending and in the past he had breached court orders. The defendant had been arrested seven times for breach of bail conditions.

A solicitor representing O’Callaghan said he had changed adding that how often would a man with his record go into a police station and admit offences.

This was a mopping up operation for a man who has changed his ways, added the solicitor.

District Judge, Mr Paul Copeland, said it was an unusual case in that it was not often someone turns up at a police station and confesses.

He added that he was going to grant bail but with strict terms warning O’Callaghan that if he breached his bail he would be back in prison.

O’Callaghan said via the videolink: “I don’t intend to be a criminal any more.”

He was remanded on his own bail of £750 and is to reside at an address agreed by the police.

A curfew was also put in place and the defendant is to be electronically monitored and banned from taking alcohol and non prescription drugs. He is also banned from entering Newry or Banbridge except for court appearances.

The case was adjourned until September to appear by way of videolink or in person if he gets a suitable bail address.