A FORMER heroin addict with 122 previous convictions was "living in a tent" in the Dublin Road area of Belfast, such was his determination to stay away from "associates" in Ballymena, a defence solicitor said.
Dale McKee (28), formerly with an address at Lanntara in Ballymena, appeared via video link from Maghaberry Prison at the town's Magistrates Court where he received a six months jail term for breaching Probation Orders which he had been given for theft and burglary with intent to steal.
Defence solicitor David Nagra said after getting out of jail in August this year McKee was in hospital for a number of weeks because he was "displaying symptoms of paranoia" and delusions.
The lawyer said McKee was then in a hostel for a few weeks in Belfast and was offered accommodation at the Lighthouse Hostel in Ballymena.
Mr Nagra told the court: "He refused to go to Ballymena, he didn't take that up. He didn't want to go back to Ballymena, he wanted to stay away from the associates that he had been involved with prior to going into custody in order to try to distance himself from the type of offending that brought him in to custody".
The solicitor said McKee stayed out of trouble but had not engaged with Probation "because he was living in a tent somewhere along the Dublin Road in Belfast. He was so determined not to get back into his old ways that he had resorted to living like that".
Mr Nagra said when the defendant was arrested he was "very grateful for the accommodation that Maghaberry provided to him and he had instructed me not to make a bail application".
He said McKee lately "hasn't been partaking in drugs".
If he was to get a suspended sentence the solicitor said the defendant said he could stay with a relative in Larne.
Jailing McKee for six months after revoking Probation, District Judge Nigel Broderick said the defendant's record was "atrocious".
He said McKee had been given Probation for a "particularly bad" burglary.
- Main picture: Dale McKee.