A Mountmellick man who broke into two schools in Mountrath leaving his own blood splashed over the premises after cutting his finger on a broken window has been sentenced to jail.
Judge Catherine Staines also directed that money from the court poor box be given to the schools to cover damages, in the case of Stephen Lacumber, aka Stephen Brophy (25), with a previous address at Kirwan Park, Mountmellick.
He was charged with a number of offences at last week’s sitting of Portlaoise District Court.
Inspector Aidan Farrelly gave evidence that on September 6 last, a car was broken into in Mountrath and an ATM card stolen. The card was later used to buy goods at a service station in Mountrath, cigarettes and Red Bull to a total of €16.
The accused was identified from CCTV footage at the service station. He claimed that he had found the ATM card.
On September 7, the accused and a juvenile broke into two schools in Mountrath, Scoil Bhride and St Fintan’s NS.
Serious damage was caused to Scoil Bhride, as the accused injured his finger on a window and spilled a large amount of blood at the scene.
Insp Farrelly said that €1,050 damage was caused, and €120 of goods stolen.
At St Fintan’s, there was also a large amount of blood left at the scene, and laptop chargers valued at €75 were stolen and never recovered.
The amount of damage caused was €230.
The accused then broke into St Fintan’s school again some three weeks later, on September 30. He and a juvenile were caught by gardaí near the school with a safe they had stolen.
In a separate incident going back to January 15 of last year, the accused was caught driving without a licence or insurance, at Patrick Street, Mountmellick.
The accused had 30 previous convictions, including four for theft, four criminal damage, assaults, and production of an article.
Defence, Ms Josephine Fitzpatrick said in relation to the ATM card, her client had found it and used it.
He admitted the burglaries of the schools. She said that during one of the burglaries, his co-assailant had knocked himself out while exiting the school.
The accused had been rendered homeless at the time of the offending and had been hoping to find money, said Ms Fitzpatrick.
She said in relation to the road traffic offences, the accused had just purchased the car and had no paperwork.
She said the accused has been in custody for some time on other matters.
“He’s spent his first Christmas in custody and I suspect it won’t be his last,” said Ms Fitzpatrick.
Judge Catherine Staines said these were serious matters which merited a custodial sentence.
For the burglary of Scoil Bhride, the judge imposed ten months in prison, and directed that €1,000 from the court poor box go to the school.
The other matters were taken into consideration, and the judge directed that €300 from the poor box go to St Fintan’s.
For no insurance, the judge imposed one month in prison and disqualified the accused from driving for four years.