Northern Ireland

Joseph Patrick McMullan sentenced to almost four years in jail

Bishop Street Court House

A 21-year-old man from Londonderry has been jailed for three years and nine months for over 20 offences, including handling a stolen guitar which belonged to the murdered musician Jim Gilchrist.

Joseph Patrick McMullan, from Kavanagh Court, was convicted of the theft and motoring offences last week.

Londonderry Crown Court heard he had 101 previous convictions.

Judge Piers Grant described his criminal record as "absolutely appalling".

The court heard during his trial that McMullan crashed a stolen Ford transit van at Strabane Old Road during a police chase on 24 January.

The police found a number of stolen items, including Mr Gilchrist's guitar, valued at £20,850, in a subsequent search of his girlfriend's house at Barnwall Place.

Mr Gilchrist was murdered in September 2005 as he cycled home across the Craigavon Bridge in Derry.

Jailing McMullan, Judge Grant said he had been caught red handed and the case against him was overwhelming.

Judge Grant said he hoped the recovery of Mr Gilchrist's guitar would bring some comfort to his family.

McMullan was also disqualified from driving for five years.