Cork man gets suspended sentence for starting car fire which caused 30k damage to house

Cork man gets suspended sentence for starting car fire which caused 30k damage to house

AN axe was used to smash up a car and the attacker then set it on fire and sat back into his own vehicle to watch it burn and today the culprit was given a three-year suspended jail term for the arson.

Brian Ruddy, 51, of 101 Churchfield Avenue, Cork, was sentenced today at Cork Circuit Criminal Court where he admitted that on June 26, 2018 he caused criminal damage by fire to a car and house at Halfway, Ballinhassig, County Cork, and causing criminal damage to a car with an axe on the same occasion.

Detective Garda Hugh Byrne said Ruddy intended to set fire to the car belonging to the other man but because it was parked near a rented house that property also caught fire causing extensive damage amounting to €30,000. 

The car was a write-off.

It was accepted by the prosecution barrister Donal McCarthy that the damage to the house was by an act of recklessness rather than intention.

Judge Ó Donnabháin said, “Mr Ruddy’s behaviour on the night was quite dreadful showing an amount of deliberateness. 

"He arrived at the scene and set fire to the car. 

"The fire to the house was by recklessness but that does not gainsay the damage done in the act of setting fire to the car.

“There was a determination to do damage to the car and his property. Whatever gave rise to it was not justified.” 

Sinead Behan, defence barrister, said the accused had raised over €13,000 compensation in respect of the damage caused to the house and a further €3,000 for the car. 

Mr Behan said the defendant was a very hard-working man and there was a letter from his employer attesting to his value as an employee.

Ms Behan said the owner of the car was in a relationship with the defendant’s daughter. 

Ms Behan asked Detective Garda Hugh Byrne about an incident between the injured party and Ruddy the previous night.

The detective said he was aware that the owner of the burnt car had allegedly beaten Ruddy quite severely the night before this but Ruddy did not make any complaint to gardaí.

Det. Garda Byrne said on the occasion of the arson the defendant drove to the location and was seen on CCTV attacking the car with an implement, setting fire to it before returning to his own car to watch it burn.

Ms Behan BL said the accused had spent over two months remanded in prison arising out the charges against him.

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