chicken burglar | 

Granny chases alleged ‘Goldilocks’ burglar out of house with brush after finding him in bed

A jury was told how the OAP homeowner reacted in fury after finding Heaney asleep in her bed

Lee Heaney appeared at Newry crown court charged with burglary.

Paul Higgins and Steven MooreSunday World

This is the alleged burglar dubbed ‘Goldilocks’ who was chased by a brush-wielding grandma after she found him naked in her bed.

Lee Heaney doesn’t deny he was in the bed of the elderly woman in Armagh or that he ate her chicken burger, some Alpha Bites and part of a fresh cake.

But the 22-year-old went to trial last Friday denying a charge of burglary because he claims his intention wasn’t to steal anything – but just that he’d entered the wrong house by mistake.

He’s seen here arriving at Newry Crown Court last week with his solicitor Patrick Higgins.

A jury was told how the OAP homeowner reacted in fury after finding Heaney asleep in her bed.

Giving evidence, Kathleen Casey told the jury how she came home from shopping to find not Goldilocks but a “big hairy man” tucked up and fast asleep in her bed.

Heaney (22), from Mullaghcreevie Park in Armagh, is accused of burglary at Mrs Casey’s property on December 15 last year where he allegedly stole “food stuffs”.

Lee Heaney

He claims he had too much to drink and had entered the house by mistake, believing it was actually his sister’s house.

Mrs Casey told prosecuting counsel Geraldine McCullough that with all of the blinds in the house having been closed, “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.

“After a minute or two I went back in and I said, ‘who the hell are you and what are you doing in my house?’ 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,” Mrs Casey told the jury that 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 out 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 battling pensioner went back inside, she realised the burnt smell she sensed was from Heaney having cooked himself a snack of a chicken burger and Alpha Bites – but she said he “burnt the grill”.

She told the court: “After I rang the police I noticed that he had cooked. The plate was still in the sink and part of a burger and Alpha Bite letters, kids’ food. He has 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?” enquired Miss McCullough and Mrs Casey recalled: “Oh aye, a beautiful cake. Someone has just gave me it the night before and I hadn’t even cut it and he had a bite out of it.”

Cops were quickly on the scene and Heaney was arrested a short distance away as he walked along the street.

During police interviews, Heaney claimed he had had “a few pints” and on entering the house through the unlocked back door he believed he was in his sister’s home.

He apologised for the distress he had caused and offering to pay for the late-night snacks he had burnt and munched.

Mrs Casey confirmed to the court she has never met Heaney, had not given him permission for him to be in her home and also that there were multiple photos of her family and loved ones “all over the house” which should have tipped him off he was in the wrong building.

Heaney opted to give evidence on his own behalf but lasted less than two minutes in the witness box.

Having confirmed to defence counsel Taylor Campbell that he was 22 and lived close to Mrs Casey, he appeared somewhat confused and befuddled as he tried to remember the events in the pensioner’s home.

Reminded several times by trial Judge Gordon Kerr KC to “keep your voice up”, it was apparent that Heaney, who was accompanied by a registered intermediary for his police interviews, wasn’t able to continue and just a few hours after the trial began, the end of the defence case brought the evidence to an end.

Having heard closing speeches from both barristers along with directions from Judge Kerr, the jury retired to consider their verdict.

But despite deliberating for a total of almost four hours over two days, the jury told Judge Kerr they were “hopelessly split” with no prospect of a verdict.

A few days after the trial the PPS said Heaney would face a retrial on December 7.

Today's Headlines

More Irish Crime

Download the Sunday World app

Now download the free app for all the latest Sunday World News, Crime, Irish Showbiz and Sport. Available on Apple and Android devices

WatchMore Videos