A MAN whose home was recently petrol bombed has admitted stealing a charity box.
Steven Johnston (25), formerly of Casement Street in Ballymena, took a charity box containing around £20 in coins belonging to a ‘Head Injury Family Support Group’ on November 18 last year.
He pleaded guilty when he appeared at Ballymena Magistrates Court on Thursday.
The full facts surrounding the theft have yet to be outlined but his previous bail in connection with the charge had a condition banning him from entering a pharmacy in Ballymena town centre.
Meanwhile, the defendant has also admitted stealing £2 worth of tomato ketchup from Poundland in Ballymena on September 30 last year.
A defence solicitor said the defendant had a “learning disability”.
The court heard the defendant now lives in another part of Ballymena.
Sentencing has been adjourned to February.
It was not mentioned in court but there had been a petrol bomb attack on the defendant’s home on January 9 this year.
At the time, Steven Johnston and his partner Danielle Glenholmes (28) told how they felt “lucky” to have escaped uninjured.
They were asleep on a mattress they had brought into their living room when the attack happened.
Just feet away from where they were sleeping the device bounced off the double-glazed living room window before bursting into flames on a footpath.
Steven said at the time: “I looked out the window and all I saw was the flames. We were straight on the phone to the police, we were scared to go outside just in case they (the culprits) were still there.”
Danielle said their cat ‘Bertie’ was also fortunate as it had been sitting at the window.
Danielle said at the time: “We were lying in bed, we have the mattress in here sometimes, and we woke up and heard this big bang. The police said the petrol bomb bounced off the window. We were lucky.
“And our wee cat, Bertie, was sitting on the window sill when it happened.”
PSNI Detective Sergeant Lenaghan said at the time of the incident: “We received a report just before midnight that a petrol bomb had been thrown at the window of a house.
“The bottle failed to go through the window and instead landed on the pavement where it shattered and ignited, causing scorch damage outside the property.
“Two people who were at home at the time were unharmed.
“This was a reckless attack and, today, we could have been looking at a very different picture. This act had the potential to seriously damage the property, causing injury, even loss of life, to those inside and any passers-by.
“I am appealing to anyone with information to contact us on 101, quoting reference number 1920 of 09/01/20.”
The officer said information could also be provided to the independent charity Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111, which is 100% anonymous and gives people the power to speak up and stop crime.