Terror | 

Coked-up thug broke into ex's house and tried to smash bedroom door down, court told

Terrified Sarah McGavigan told of her utter fear when Andrew Laird broke into her home in the village of Convoy in Co Donegal

Andrew Laird at Letterkenny District Court

Stephen Maguire

A man broke into his ex-girlfriend's house and tried to smash her bedroom door down using a pair of scissors.

Terrified Sarah McGavigan told of her utter fear when Andrew Laird broke into her home in the village of Convoy in Co Donegal on June 16th, 2019.

Ms McGavigan was alone asleep in her house at 12.50am when she heard a loud bang downstairs.

She heard her neighbour's dog barking, heard glass smashing and then realised somebody was in her home.

The petrified woman saw a man coming up her stairs wearing a dark hoodie and dark bottoms and realised it was her ex-partner Laird, aged 33, who told her "I'll get the truth now."

Ms McGavigan managed to lock herself into her bedroom at her home at Milltown, Convoy.

But Laird, armed with a pair of scissors, began to try to bang the door in by punching a hole in the door and looking into the room.

Ms McGavigan managed to telephone her sister who lived nearby and Laird fled.

Laird told the court that he was high on cocaine during the burglary and that he was "disgusted" with himself for what had happened.

However, in her victim impact statement to Letterkenny  Circuit Court, Ms McGavigan said her children, who had been staying with relatives on the night, were still terrified of what might happen as was she.

She said she is not from Convoy but Laird is and she is now looking to leave the village saying "My stomach turns every time I see him because I don't know what he's going to do next."

She said she was petrified on the night and now sleeps with her bedroom window open so she can hear if there may be somebody outside her house.

Laird, from Beechwood Park in Convoy, took to the witness box and said he regretted "every bit" of what happened on the night.

"I was completely off my head on cocaine. Thinking back, I am disgusted with myself. I'm sorry for what I've done. It's ridiculous. Sorry is not good enough for her. Our relationship is done," he said.

The court was told that the accused had never taken a drink in his life but he became a changed person when he took drugs.

His own barrister Ms Fiona Crawford, BL, said Laird put the "fear of God" into his victim.

She also challenged him about having a "deplorable attitude towards women" and again Laird said his issues with drugs were to blame for this.

Ms Crawford did stress that Laird has been under the care of the Probation Services for the past seven months and that he has not stepped out of line or come to any Garda attention.

She suggested to Judge John Aylmer that he could be "put on his mettle" to see how he behaved himself over a period of time before any sentence was passed.

She also suggested he would have to undertake some form of drug treatment.

Laird has a total of fifteen previous convictions but most are for traffic and for drug offences.

Judge Aylmer said this was not just a burglary but that Laird also tried to break down the bedroom door with a scissors in the middle of the night.

He said he also noted what he described as the accused man's "very negative attitude towards women."

He adjourned the case until next week when he will sentence Laird.

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