Bail granted over ‘gratuitous’ burglary of refugee’s home

A political refugee’s home was “gratuitously” wrecked during a burglary in east Belfast, the High Court heard on Wednesday.

Raiders smashed belongings and broke off a toilet lid at the man’s house on Island Street, prosecutors said.

A judge was told one of two suspected intruders shouted racist abuse as they escaped with a computer and television.

 Details emerged as bail was granted to a man accused of the break-in on 6 October.

William McKay, 28, of Forthriver Road in the city, faces charges of burglary, attempted robbery and possession of an offensive weapon.

The victim, understood to be Sudanese, had returned home to discover two men inside.

Prosecution counsel Philip Henry said: “The property had been, in his words, trashed and a number of items smashed.”

Describing how the property was ransacked, he added: “There was gratuitous damage, including a lid being broken off the toilet.”

The victim alerted a foreign national friend who took photos as the burglars left, wearing surgical gloves and carrying stolen belongings, the court heard.

“One of the individuals was racially abusive, he shouted: ‘Black motherf******, what are you doing in our country?'”

It was claimed that the intruders returned when they realised they had been photographed.

McKay allegedly brandished a pole in a failed bid to seize the mobile phone used to take the pictures.

According to the prosecution, he can be seen in the photos.

Conn O’Neill, defending, stressed that a co-accused has already received police bail.

Granting McKay’s application to be released, Mr Justice Horner ordered him to live with his mother in north Belfast.

The judge imposed a curfew, electronic tagging and banned him from entering the east of the city.

He stressed: “He is not to cross the River Lagan, that is forbidden.”


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