Man who defaced book of condolence warned to stay 'squeaky clean'
A man has pleaded guilty at Tullamore district court to a number of offences including writing pigs on a book of condolence for Det Garda Colm Horkan at Tullamore, Garda station on June 18 last.
Det Garda Horkan was murdered in Castlerea, County Roscommon in June and a book of condolence was opened at Tullamore Garda Station.
Stephen Bracken, with addresses at 4, Arch House B, Irishtown, Athlone and Apartment 2-10 Ash House, Kilbeggan, was seen on CCTV writing in the book. When he was arrested he apologised.
On the same date he entered Boots, Church Street, Tullamore and stole an Oral B electric toothbrush valued at €99.99. He also stole a shaving set from Quirke's Medical Hall, Tullamore, valued at €14.99.
On February 21, 2020, Mr Bracken entered Leavy Centra, Henry Street, Tullamore and stole a breakfast roll, valued at €4.50. He placed the item inside his jacket and left.
On February 19, 2020, at the Granary, Tullamore, he broke into two vehicles stealing an electric cigarette valued at €20, a DVD TV Combo valued at €180 and a cigarette car charger €10 euro. He also stole an air compressor valued at €50. He denied a charge that he stole an engagement ring, valued at €700, from the cars.
On March 6, 2020, he stole two sets of sockets valued at €49.98 and two bottles of Scotch whiskey from Lidl, Main Street.
Mr Bracken had a large number of previous convictions, including under the Misuse of Drugs Act, and had previously received a 12 month suspended sentence.
His solicitor, Donal Farrelly, said Mr Bracken is a recovering heroin addict and is on methadone. He attends the clinic three days a week. He is also working with the Peter McVerry Trust, who described him in a letter to Judge Catherine Staines as pleasant, engaging and that his property had always been kept to a clean standard. The Trust said they had to withdraw assistance to the defendant during the coronavirus. However, Mr Bracken said he still got methadone though he had missed a few days during the coronavirus because of transport difficulties. He is also liaising with Beaumont Hospital
He said he didn't take an engagement ring from one of the vehicles and he had just taken a compression pump. He also alleged he had suffered fractures to his leg in three places when some of the people who owned one of the vehicles had come upon him but he didn't press charges..
Judge Catherine Staines said she was very impressed with the letter from the Peter McVerry Trust.
She said apart from the issues with the engagement ring, the other matters had been relatively minor. She adjourned the case to October 14, warning Mr Bracken that he had 'better be squeaky clean' between now and then.