A PATIENT who turned up at his doctor’s home in Drimoleague armed with a hammer and ice-axe and two wheel-clamps to prevent cars being driven away has been sentenced to two years and eight months in prison.
Judge Dara Hayes had adjourned sentencing in the case from last week at Cork Circuit Criminal Court to decide on the matter.
Now he has imposed a sentence of four years and eight months on Cian Bennett with two years of that sentence to be suspended.
Cian Bennett pleaded guilty to the aggravated burglary charge at Toureen, Drimoleague, County Cork, while armed with an ice-axe on March 23.
Detective Garda Martin Bohane said the background to the matter is that the defendant suffers with his mental health and he went to his doctor’s home on this morning to talk to him rather than to take anything.
“He confronted (the doctor) in the kitchen of the house. He had an object in his hand. He was giving out about his mental care. The doctor asked him to leave the house. They walked up the farm. He saw the ice-pick in Cian’s hand. He asked him to hand over the weapon which he did and the doctor threw it away,” Det. Garda Bohane said.
The doctor’s brother and two farm workers came to the scene and saw wheel clamps on two of the cars outside the house. The defendant agreed to show them where the keys were hidden behind a wall and the wheel clamps were unlocked and removed. They escorted Cian Bennett off the property and gardaí were alerted.
The defendant was later arrested outside his home at Blackrock Road, Bantry, County Cork. “Gardaí were under the impression that he was suffering with his mental health. He was later admitted to Carrigmore,” Det. Garda Bohane said.
A number of exhibits were recovered at the doctor’s house, including two wheel clamps, an ice axe, a balaclava and a tin can. Receipts from an autofactors for wheel clamps were found at the defendant’s home.
On investigation, it later emerged that two months earlier the defendant had followed the doctor from his practice to his home and knew from that time where the doctor was living.
He brought a hammer to the house on the occasion in March. Asked why, he said that if the door was closed he would break glass to open the door. “He said he called to his home to talk to the doctor,” Det. Garda Bohane said. The young man did not feel that his treatment was working.
The detective said the Bennett family from the Bantry area are very well respected.
Sinead Behan, defence barrister, said the young man’s family are very supportive. She said the doctor had been making concerted efforts – to no avail – to have Cian Bennett seen by a psychiatrist.
“He has never come to garda attention previously. He had mental health issues. Mr Bennett took a notion – a very delusional approach – to talk directly to the doctor about the issues very much on his mind, a decision taken in the context of his mental health difficulties. It was undoubtedly a very frightening incident for the doctor who did – at all times – his best to obtain treatment for Mr Bennett,” Ms Behan said.
Judge Hayes said that arriving with weapons and devices to stop cars being driven away made it much more serious than simply arriving at the doctor’s private residence to talk to him.