Court hears of theft of £28,000 in cash which self-employed joiner from Ballymena had kept in his home for mortgage

Court hears of theft of £28,000 in cash which self-employed joiner from Ballymena had kept in his home for mortgage

A MAN is accused of stealing '£28,000' in cash which, a court heard, a self-employed Ballymena joiner said he had in a cupboard in his house to put towards a mortgage.

Kurtis Mitchell (28), of Devenagh Way in Ballymena, is accused of stealing cash during a burglary at a house in the town on Saturday May 14 this year.

The defendant appeared via video link at Antrim Magistrates' Court, sitting in Ballymena, on Tuesday.

Opposing bail, a police officer said a man told police he left his home address with his dogs.

The officer said CCTV showed the man leaving his address in a vehicle.

The officer said the back door of the property was "insecure".

The officer said: "The injured party reports that due to being a self-employed joiner he had cash to the value of '£28,000' which he had been saving up to pay for his mortgage. He had that hid in the back of a cupboard in his bedroom."

The officer said that when he returned home and noticed signs of a break-in "he immediately made his way to his bedroom and all the money was missing. The money was contained in money bags."

The officer said money bags were found on the ground and when CCTV was viewed police recognised the defendant "which put him in the area at the time".

The court was told police arrested Mitchell the next day at his home address.

A search uncovered £13,150 in a handbag in a beside table at Mitchell's address, Court News NI can report.

The court heard a female was arrested on suspicion of 'handling stolen goods' and she was bailed to May 24 as "unfortunately there was no actual room in custody for her".

The female's address was searched "with negative results," the court heard.

During a police interview, Mitchell denied the allegations and said he was at a family member's address at the time and claimed "the money seized by police is not stolen" but didn't give any account as to where it came from.

The officer said the female had yet to be interviewed in connection with the money.

The officer objected to bail saying Mitchell was unemployed "with no access to that kind of money" and had 32 previous convictions.

The policeman said there was "still £15,000 outstanding".

District Judge Nigel Broderick said the"acid test" was that police would need to speak to the female because she could have a "reasonable explanation" for the money "and you are asking me to remand somebody in custody because you are suspicious that he is the perpetrator but there is no direct evidence".

The judge said "on balance" he was admitting Mitchell to bail saying the police investigation "isn't yet complete and there is a presumption of innocence".

He added it was "unfortunate" police had not spoken to the female in relation to the source of the money "so that is a major gap in the prosecution case".

The defendant was released on his own bail of £500 and is to have no contact with the alleged injured party and he is not to enter a part of Ballymena.

The case was adjourned to June 9.

  • Main picture: Kurtis Mitchell.