10 Aug 2022

Laois boxing coach smashed up cars with a crowbar

'outrageous' act

Laois boxing coach smashed up cars with a crowbar

A Portlaoise man heavily involved in local boxing clubs who smashed up a number of vehicles with a crowbar after “a dark mist descended” has been directed to engage with a restorative justice programme.

At Portlaoise District Court, Eugene Lacumber (42), 6 Parnell Crescent, Portlaoise, was charged with threatening or abusive behaviour, being intoxicated in a public place, and three counts of criminal damage, at Parnell Crescent, on July 7 this year.

Sgt JJ Kirby gave evidence that on July 7 last, at Parnell Crescent, Portlaoise, the accused damaged a number of vehicles with a crowbar, causing a lot of damage.

Damage caused to one vehicle came to €2,394.38; damage to a second was €4,353.66; and damage to a third vehicle came to around €3,696.

Sgt Kirby said the accused had drink taken at the time.

“He lost the run of himself,” said Sgt Kirby.

The accused had five previous convictions.

One of the injured parties, Ms Melanie Carroll gave a victim impact statement to the court.

She said she lives alongside her mother, who was one of the other injured parties, and had been really happy until her home, her safety and her property were attacked.

She said her home no longer feels the same and now feels like a trap, as she does not feel safe to leave.

Ms Carroll said her mental and physical health has been affected as she does not sleep or eat properly since the incident. She said she had been referred for counseling and is on medication.

Ms Carrol went on to give evidence that her children no longer feel safe and her son asked could he sleep with a hammer under his pillow to protect the family following the incident.

She said she was utterly terrified and still lives in close proximity to “those responsible”, adding that she misses the life she had before.

“I do not feel that I can live much longer in these circumstances,” she said.

Defence for the accused, Ms Josephine Fitzpatrick said that the sister of the injured party had been in a relationship with the accused.

Ms Fitzpatrick said the accused, who had been an amateur boxer for a number of years, had been out socially on the night when he received a phonecall about an ongoing issue. He went to the area and words were exchanged between his partner and the injured party and “a dark mist descended” on him, causing him to act outrageously.

Ms Fitzpatrick said the accused had €1,000 compensation in court, as a start.

Judge Catherine Staines said it was an absolutely outrageous incident which meritted a prison sentence. She noted that there were outstanding characters references on the accused in court, with a peace commissioner having provided a reference outlining that the accused had won seven Irish boxing titles and helps young members of the boxing club.

A further reference was given by the accused’s former school principal, which described the accused as a very good role model for young boxers. Judge Staines said that the accused had volunteered his coaching at the boxing club in Knockmay and gave up his fee to charity.

Judge Staines directed that the €1,000 be distributed equally between the injured parties. She also directed that €1,000 go to each injured party out of the court poor box.

The matter was adjourned to February 13, 2020, for a restorative justice report.

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