Man charged with murder admits shoplifting in Ballymena’s Tower Centre as a court hears he has 127 previous convictions

The Tower Centre. Picture - Google

A MAN charged with murder in Ballymena has appeared in court on other unrelated charges and a judge said the defendant has 127 previous convictions.

Michael Lenaghan (52), with an address listed as the Galgorm Road in Ballymena, has admitted a series of shoplifting incidents in the town.

He is currently on remand in custody charged with murdering Inayat Shah, owner of the Traveller’s Rest B&B in Ballymena.

67-year-old Mr Shah died after an incident at Galgorm Road in March this year.

On Thursday, Lenaghan was before Ballymena Magistrates Court, via video link from Maghaberry Prison, and he admitted four charges of theft relating to February this year.

He stole a grooming set and three bottles of perfume valued at £37 from B&M; items worth £50 from Boots; Dettol wipes worth £2 from Poundland and clothing from Primark.

A prosecutor said police investigated a number of thefts from the Tower Centre.

The defendant had put items in a bag and left without paying.

A police officer who viewed CCTV then identified the defendant whilst patrolling Ballymena the next day.

When they searched Lenaghan’s address a number of items “still in their packaging” were found.

The defendant admitted the offences at interview and said he had taken clothing worth £20 from Primark.

A defence lawyer said Lenaghan was “on remand for more serious matters”.

She said Lenaghan made full admissions to the thefts and had gone beyond those which were originally being investigated and all items were fit for re-sale.

The lawyer said the defendant is “quite a vulnerable person” and “had a difficult life” and was in the “midst of an addiction” at the time of the thefts.

District Judge Nigel Broderick noted the defendant had 127 previous convictions and jailed Lenaghan for three months on the theft charges.

The murder charge has yet to be sent to the Crown Court.

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