Man who had trials to be professional footballer was 'spooked' whilst approaching County Antrim house with a knife

Man who had trials to be professional footballer was 'spooked' whilst approaching County Antrim house with a knife

A MAN who a court heard had trials to be a professional footballer was "spooked" after climbing a fence and approaching a house with a knife behind his back in the Crumlin area.

Details emerged as Tiernan Murphy (19), of Cupar Street in Belfast, was sentenced at Antrim Magistrates Court, sitting in Ballymena, on charges including going equipped for burglary at Ballydonaghy Road on June 17 last year.

He also pleaded guilty to interfering with a vehicle.

A prosecutor said that around 10.20am a man was at the front garden of his property when he saw a male climbing over a garden fence.

CCTV showed Murphy climbing over a fence into the rear garden holding a kitchen knife in his hand behind his back before he crouched down and made his way to the back door.

The prosecutor said it appeared Murphy was "suddenly spooked" and made a "quick exit followed by the injured party's father-in-law" who had opened a rear door and emerged into the yard.

The injured party said the male tried to open the door handle of his vehicle "when he ran past it".

Murphy was arrested after running off through fields in a bid to escape police.

Defence barrister Paul Burns accepted it was a "very serious" matter.

He said the defendant, a hotel worker, had started offending three years ago after he received a "serious brain injury".

The lawyer said Murphy had trials to be a professional footballer before his head injury.

District Judge Nigel Broderick told the defendant: "This is a serious offence, going to somebody's home with a knife and then trying to steal a vehicle".

The defendant had a previous record including a custodial sentence in the Young Offenders Centre.

Imposing a three months prison sentence, suspended for a year, Judge Broderick warned Murphy if he continued to offend it was likely he would be jailed.