A woman has been left ‘haunted’ by an incident in which a man came halfway in her window and threw a glass bottle at her.
The man pleaded guilty to burglary as well as criminal damage and assaulting a garda in a separate incident, when he appeared before Kilkenny Circuit Court.
Before the court was Michael McCarthy, 6 Cypress Grove, Kilkenny.
On November 21, 2020, at approximately 1am, Linda McCarthy was asleep in her home on Rioch Street with her four young children.
She was awoken by a loud smashing glass sound.
Ms McCarthy looked out the window and saw a young man at her car.
Her friend Tracy McCarthy was also in the house and she recognised Michael McCarthy. She was sure it was him. He fled the scene.
The damaged car had two broken windows and the windscreen was damaged. The damage was valued at €4,000.
Garda Mark Nolan told the court there is a family connection between Linda and Michael McCarthy.
Gardaí attended the scene and took statements. A garda observed two rocks inside the damaged car.
At 2.35am, the same date, Mr McCarthy attended Kilkenny Garda Station. He was wearing different clothing to earlier.
On entering the public office at the garda station he started throwing around leaflets and flyers and damaged a microphone. He was ‘in a rage’ and caused €200 worth of damage.
Following this Mr McCarthy was arrested. He was highly intoxicated and abusive to gardaí. As two gardaí were ensuring Mr McCarthy stayed sitting down he kicked out and kicked one garda in the groin.
The court heard Mr McCarthy had 12 previous convictions on charges including criminal damage, theft, violent disorder and public order offences.
Mr McCarthy was a juvenile at the time of the incident and is now an adult, defence barrister said.
Alcohol was a factor in his offending, the barrister said, and there were tensions in the wider family at the time. Tracy McCarthy is his aunt.
€250 in compensation was paid to Linda McCarthy and Mr McCarthy has attended at her house on a number of occasions to do clearing up work. Things have ‘calmed down’ in the family.
Garda Sean Leahy gave evidence of an incident on October 1, 2021. He was on patrol when he received a call to say a man had tried to enter a home on Gaol Road. He was gone when gardaí arrived but the woman living in the house told them the man had first shouted in to her, asking for cigarettes. When she said she didn’t have any he came through her open front window, to waist deep. When she tried to push him back out he started punching her in the head.
The woman retreated to the back of the room and the man threw a glass beer bottle at her. It just missed her and struck the wall behind her.
The man went back out and took up another glass bottle, throwing it and smashing it outside.
The woman gave a description of the man, Mr McCarthy, and the gardaí patrolled the area to see if they could find him.
Gardaí returned to the house, 15 minutes later, they saw Mr McCarthy had returned and was trying to go in the front door of the same house.
They followed him as he left and he was arrested.
The woman’s victim impact statement was read out in court by a garda. She said the attack left her very shaken and she couldn’t sleep that night. She stayed in the house for a week and suffered fear and anxiety she would be attacked again. She thought if he got in she didn’t know what he would have done.
The incident ‘haunts her daily.’ She moved back in with her parents and said she ‘doesn’t think she will be the same again.’
Garda Leahy said fingerprints were taken from the windowsill inside the sitting room, where Mr McCarthy climbed in, and these were identified as being from him.
The defendant’s barrister said alcohol appeared to be a factor in this incident.
He handed a number of testimonials in to the court - a letter from Mr McCarthy to the court and the injured party, a letter from his AA sponsor, a letter from a business owner in Cork willing to offer him a job in the future, and a letter from his future mother in law.
His client had also brought €500 to court as compensation for the injured party.
Mr Mark Lynam said the events were ‘extremely serious’ but asked the court to give Mr McCarthy a chance to prove this is not something that is going to be repeated.
His client spent two months in custody and on his release immediately moved to Cork and got engaged, the barrister said. He is living with his future mother in law and fiancee, observes a curfew and signs on at a garda station. He has behaved himself in his time there and has been respectful in the home. Since going to Cork he has turned his life around.
Mr McCarthy found prison ‘very scary’ his barrister said.
The incident at the Gaol Road house was ‘bizarre’ Mr Lynam said. His client had been walking home drunk and didn’t go out to assault the woman. Unfortunately it was ‘a very scary incident for her’.
He said that at the window Mr McCarthy’s rings became entangled in the woman’s hair and he struck out. It was accidental that he hit her, but shouldn’t have happened.
Mr Lynam said a Probation Report found Mr McCarthy suitable for supervision and wanted him to address anger management and substance misuse.
The barrister said he was asking the court for a chance for his client to ‘do better’.
Judge Cormac Quinn said Mr McCarthy’s age and alcohol were mitigating factors in the first incident. Aggravating factors included the effect on the victim of the second incident and the defendant’s previous convictions.
On each charge of criminal damage, from November 2020, Mr McCarthy was sentenced to one year in prison.
A four-month prison sentence was imposed for assaulting the garda.
On the charge of burglary at the house on Gaol Road Judge Quinn imposed a sentence of two years and six months imprisonment. All sentences to be concurrent.
In view of his young age and the content of the probation report, Judge Quinn suspended the sentence in full for two years on condition Mr McCarthy keep the peace and be of good behaviour and comply with all the requirements of the Probation Service.
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