Northern Ireland

Drunk musician guilty of trashing Belfast hotel room

A young musician pleaded guilty to trashing a hotel room after drinking a bottle of whisky and blacking out.

Laurence Taaffe, 20, of Drumlin Drive, Lurgan, was sentenced to 12 months probation at Belfast Magistrates Court on Wednesday for criminal damage.

Taaffe destroyed a television set, damaged walls and fixtures at Jury's Inn, Belfast, where he was supposed to be attending a formal.

He was also ordered to pay £712 compensation for hotel repairs.

The judge also imposed a probation order which is to involve participation in an approved counselling programme.

Belfast Magistrates Court heard how Taaffe was arrested on 8 December 2010, and was apparently under the influence of alcohol.

Defence barrister Neil Richards said Taaffe's recollection of events was "somewhat limited".

Mr Richards told the court his client had been at the hotel to attend a formal with his girlfriend.

"He drunk in excess of a bottle of whisky," Mr Richards said.

He added that his client had "blacked out" when others went on ahead to the function.

Taaffe was said to have admitted the offence as soon as he sobered up.

He also offered to pay for the damage and wrote a letter of apology to the hotel manager.

Mr Richards described him as having significant musical skills, able to play a number of instruments and involved in a band.

Taaffe has applied to study a music course which is due to begin at a college in Lurgan later this year, the court was told.

After the invoice for the damage was disclosed the judge said she thought it would have been higher.