‘Discombobulated’ thief given three months’ jail

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A Portlaoise man with 60 previous convictions has been sentenced to three months in prison for stealing items from parked cars while out on remand.

At last week’s district court, solicitor Mr Declan Breen said that Kenneth Kelly, of 22 O’Moore Place, Portlaoise, had been in a “discombobulated state” on the night of January 21 this year due to an intake of alcohol and tablets and had believed that one of the cars he gained access to was his partner’s.

The court heard from Inspector Declan Dunne that Kelly broke into two cars at 22 An Cluain, Mountrath, causing €300 damage, before he removed items worth €246. He was found to have a blade on him, and a small hammer.

Mr Breen told Judge Catherine Staines that she would be familiar with Kelly, who has 60 previous convictions and had appeared at the previous week’s circuit court charged with breaching a suspended sentence.

Mr Breen said that Kelly was chronically addicted to heroin until September last year, when he developed thrombosis and resolved to do something about his addiction. Due to a “transference of addiction” he then developed an alcohol problem and on the day of the offences had consumed eight to ten cans of cider.

“When his partner came home he was in a discombobulated state,” said Mr Breen.

When Kelly’s partner left the house he ingested a month’s worth of tablets, and Mr Breen said his client claimed to remember sleeping in an abandoned house nearby and the next thing he remembered was being in one of the cars. Mr Breen said that Kelly believed he was in his partner’s car and when the injured party approached, Kelly believed the other party was trespassing on his partner’s property.

“So it was a total coincidence that on the night he broke into a number of cars he happened to have a little hammer with him?” remarked a sceptical Judge Staines.

The judge went on to say that the circuit court had given Kelly a suspended sentence which he breached, and while on remand he had committed further crimes. She imposed a three-month sentence, with recognisance fixed for an appeal.

Separate public order and drug charges were put back to March 20.


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