Jailed for ‘disgraceful’ damage to rented house

A MAN who committed the “simply appalling” crime of cleaning out a house he was renting by stealing goods worth over €1,000, causing almost €6,000 worth of damage in the process, was sentenced to six months in prison for theft at last week’s district court.

A MAN who committed the “simply appalling” crime of cleaning out a house he was renting by stealing goods worth over €1,000, causing almost €6,000 worth of damage in the process, was sentenced to six months in prison for theft at last week’s district court.

Marek Lakatos, a 26-year-old Slovakian national, was renting the house at 20 Carmody Way, Portlaoise, in April, 2011.

Garda Inspector Martin Harrington told the court that Lakatos rented the house on April 4, but when the owner of the property came back on April 6 he discovered household items worth €1,120 had been taken and damage had been caused. The inspector said the total cost of damages was €5,870.

Lakatos has 11 previous convictions, mostly for road traffic.

Defence, Mr Philip Meagher explained that his client had been renting in Ireland for a number of years and had never caused any difficulty before. Mr Meagher said that Lakatos had attempted to perform some renovations to the house himself, but he caused more damage than good and gave up halfway through.

Mr Meagher acknowledged that his client was aware compensation had to be paid and he told Judge Catherine Staines that Lakatos had €100 in court as a token gesture. He said that Lakatos has two young children and he is currently on social welfare.

Judge Staines described it as an appalling crime and read out the litany of damages caused to the property.

“How can renovations cause damage to a cooker, damage to a fridge?” she asked. “Cigarettes butts all over the house, a large hole in the wall, showerheads broken, the bathroom sink blocked with dirt, kitchen drawers missing... this is absolutely disgraceful,” the judge declared.

“He’s stolen everything from the bins to the light shades, he basically cleaned the house out.”

Judge Staines imposed six months in prison. Recognizance was set in the event of an appeal on Lakatos’ own bond of €100 and an independent cash surety of €200.