Cookstown thief with 131 previous convictions even stole from former prisoner

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A serial criminal from Cookstown has been sentenced to jail for three months after being found guilty of stealing from a former prisoner, and criminally damaging an electronic security tag.

31 year-old Christopher Reid, from Coolnafranky Park, was caught on CCTV tricking the ex-prisoner into giving him £150 cash.

His case, which arose from offences occurring on November 27, 2013, was heard at Dungannon Magistrate’s Court on Friday.

Judge John Meehan accused Reid of tricking a former prisoner who was vulnerable, and causing his victim ‘a sense of outrage and humiliation’.

In an attempt to mitigate the sentencing, Reid’s defence solicitor claimed there had been ‘a deceleration’ in his client’s criminal activity in the past few years.

In all, Reid has 131 previous convictions dating from 2002, the bulk of which are motoring offences noted the solicitor, who also acknowledged that after 2004, his client began serving significant custodial sentences for his criminal behaviour.

“However, there has been a slight deceleration in his offending behaviour, as he has made efforts to amend his behaviour”, the solicitor told the court.

“He has co-operated with police and probation.”

The solicitor added that Reid had recently lost his mother, and that there were some positive factors in his case, namely that he had been assessed as suitable for community service.

The solicitor also advised that if Reid was sent to jail, he would lose the tenancy of his housing executive home which had been in the name of his deceased mother.

However, pre-sentence reports submitted to the court concluded that the defendant was highly likely to reoffend.

Judge John Meehan did not accept the defence submissions for clemency.

He accused Reid of showing no remorse in defrauding a vulnerable former prisoner, and said that there was no evidence that he had turned a corner in terms of his offending behaviour.

“Your targeting of an ex-prisoner indicates a purely mean and selfish attitude.

He added: “You thought you would get away with this because of your victim’s questionable past.”

The judge sentenced Reid to two months in jail for the criminal damage offence, and three months for the theft.

The judge also imposed a compensation order of £253.81 for the damage to the security tag.