A young heroin addict “in freefall” used a small lump-hammer to smash his way into three premises in Cork city where extensive damage costing the owners thousands of euro was caused.
The culprit was jailed for 16 months on multiple charges today at Cork District Court.
Garda Brian Barron charged Leigh O’Keeffe with carrying out three incidents of causing criminal damage to premises.
The investigating guard testified that O’Keeffe, 27, was arrested at the scene of one of the incidents of criminal damage, namely Minihan’s Pharmacy on Oliver Plunkett Street, Cork, in the early hours of Thursday, September 10.
It was estimated that the amount of the damage caused to that premises was €3,500.
Damage was also caused to the Gala store on MacCurtain Street and the post office on MacCurtain Street but there was no estimate before the court today of the amount of damage caused to those premises.
The fourth charge against O’Keeffe, of Cork Simon Community, today was of causing criminal damage to a car parked at Parnell Place.
Leigh O’Keeffe pleaded guilty to all of those charges together with counts of smashing the side window of Elegance Florists on Douglas Road, Cork, on August 27, breaking into other cars at that time and stealing a coin dispenser containing €112 in coins from a bus at Parnell Place on August 5.
Judge Olann Kelleher imposed a number of sentences totalling 16 months at Cork District Court.
Referring to just one of the victim impact statements – from the owner of one of the cars – Judge Kelleher noted that the victim was distraught and that the crime affected him considerably as he did not have the money to repair his car.
Eddie Burke, solicitor, said that unfortunately because of the defendant’s circumstances there was no prospect of compensation being paid.
At a recent bail hearing, O’Keeffe said he owed €400 for drugs but was told that this debt now stood at €1,000 and that he would be cut from ear to ear if he did not pay it.
Mr Burke said, “He had little if any memory of what happened until he was shown CCTV of the incidents. Then he made full and frank admissions.
“His mother is dead. He and his father fell out and he (the 27-year-old defendant) is living between Simon and the streets since he was 18,” Mr Burke said.
The young man had a number of hospital admissions in the past for psychiatric treatment. Mr Burke said the defendant had recently improved his situation by securing permanent accommodation through Simon but slipped back into taking heroin and Benzodiazepines. “There was a freefall when these offences happened,” Mr Burke said.