05 Jul 2022

Drove off from petrol station without paying for fuel - FOUR times, Kilkenny court hears

Jailed for theft and dangerous driving

Kilkenny Kilkenny Kilkenny

Evidence was heard at Kilkenny Courthouse

A  motorist has been jailed for five months for putting fuel in his vehicle then driving off without paying - on four separate occasions.

Michael Connors, 17 Waterside, New Ross, was also convicted of dangerous driving and a suspended prison sentence was imposed on that charge.

Kilkenny District Court heard that three of the four ‘drive offs’ were from the Applegreen filling station in Paulstown. 

The first offence occurred at the Circle K filling station at Junction 5 Rathcrogue on the M9. On January 14, 2021, Mr Connors put €61.55 of diesel in his car and drove off without paying. 

He was identified on CCTV and interviewed.

On January 29, 2021, Mr Connors went to Applegreen Paulstown and put €61.43 of diesel in the same car. He failed to pay and drove away.

The next offence occurred on March 13, 2021. At Applegreen Paulstown Mr Connors put €54 of petrol into a Peugeot car. He drove away without paying.

On March 28, 2021, at Applegreen Paulstown. Mr Connors put €92.03 of petrol into a vehicle, failed to pay and left the filling station. He was identified and later arrested. 

Mr Connors had 30 previous convictions, the court heard, including two for driving off without paying for fuel, imposed at Kilkenny District Court the week before. 

Evidence was also given of dangerous driving.

Garda Matt Donnellan said he was in the garda patrol car on February 2, 2021, when he saw Mr Connors travelling against him. He was aware the vehicle was being sought in relation to the drive off offences.

The garda turned his patrol car and followed Mr Connors. He pulled alongside to identify the driver. He observed Mr Connors was alone in the vehicle. 

They got caught at road works near Coolgrange, Clara. Mr Connors was told to pull in, by the garda, but he accelerated and drove at speed through the works. The road was closed on the left side and Mr Connors pulled through the bollards, into the area with workers, and continued on. At a junction he cut the corner and at another point he overtook three vehicles on a single, white line, coming into a blind bend. At this point the gardaí lost sight of Mr Connors’ vehicle. 

Some weeks later the vehicle was recovered in Tallaght.

Solicitor Chris Hogan said his client was a family man who unfortunately started drinking excessively after the death of his brother. That led to taking cocaine.

His client is on remand since April and he is doing well in prison. Mr Hogan said Mr Connors had asked him to apologise to the gardaí and the court. He asked the court to impose a suspended sentence to encourage his client’s rehabilitation. Mr Connors, the solicitor said, was prepared to engage with the Probation Service adn to give an undertaking to stay out of the Applegreen filling station.

In relation to the dangerous driving charge, Mr Hogan said his client apologised. He should have stopped for gardaí. He knew the gardaí were looking for him.

Judge Geraldine Carthy said Mr Connors was a recidivist offender. For the drive-of offence on March 28 she convicted him and sentenced him to five months in prison.

For dangerous driving Mr Connors was convicted and a three month sentence imposed, to be suspended for 18 months on condition he enter a bond to keep the peace and engage with the Probation Service, who may give him the assistance he requires.

All other matters were taken into consideration.

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