Kathleen Casey realised the burnt smell was from Heaney cooking himself a chicken burger and Alphabites – “but he burnt the grill”
Lee Heaney was due to go on trial at Newry Crown Court on Wednesday when defence counsel Taylor Campbell asked for the single charge to be put to the 22-year-old again and he confessed to burglary of his pensioner victim’s home.
It’s the second time that Heaney, from Mullaghcreevie Park, had faced a trial for the burglary incident on December 15 last year, and although none of the facts was opened last Wednesday, the original trial heard how the furious pensioner chased Heaney from her home using a brush after she found him fast asleep in her bed.
In a slightly distorted version of the classic fairytale, Heaney let himself into the pensioner’s home, helping himself to a chicken burger and Alphabites instead of porridge.
With his belly full, Heaney stripped off and got into a bed that was juuuussstttt right and promptly fell asleep.
However, instead of being faced by an angry family of bears, Heaney found himself confronted by an equally angry Kathleen Casey who demanded to know “who the hell are you and what are you doing in my house?”
Giving evidence at Heaney’s first trial last October, she told prosecuting counsel Geraldine McCullough she had gone shopping but when she came back, she noted that all her blinds were closed and there was a lump under the duvet in her bed.
“I thought maybe the kids were there but when I pulled back the quilt, there was a big man’s hairy leg and I ran into the living room,” she told the court.
When she composed herself, she went back into the room and demanded to know who the intruder was.
“He says ‘you wouldn’t deny a homeless person a bed’ and I says get the hell out of my house – I’m ringing the police,” testified Mrs Casey.
Describing how she was “shocked and shaking,” the witness said she repeated her demands for the unwanted, snoozing intruder to get out but when he wasn’t moving quick enough, “I didn’t want him lying back down again and the sweeping brush was outside so I took the brush and threatened him... and kept shouting get the eff out!”
With Heaney getting “slowly” dressed, Mrs Casey told the court: “I kept going with the brush and he just took his time and kept looking back at me, but finally he did get up and out the gate and I closed it.
“I was shaking,” she said to the jury of six men and six women, “when I realised what I had done I was really scared and shaking.
“I didn’t realise I would react like that trying to get him out myself.”
When the pensioner went back inside, she realised the burnt smell was from Heaney cooking himself a snack of a chicken burger and Alphabites – “but he burnt the grill.”
“After I rang the police I noticed that he had cooked. The plate was still in the sink and part of a burger and Alphabite letters, kids’ food. He had got them out of the freezer so he mustn’t have liked what was in the fridge but he had burnt the grill”.
“Anything else?” inquired Miss McCullough and Mrs Casey remembers: “Oh aye, a beautiful cake. Someone had just gave me it the night before and I hadn’t even cut it and he had a bit out of it.”
Following Heaney’s 11th-hour dock confession on Wednesday, Judge Gordon Kerr KC freed the burger burglar on bail and adjourned passing sentence until January 25, by which time a probation pre-sentence report will have been lodged with the court.