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Westport man says crime was part of ongoing feud

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A Westport man charged with criminal damage and possession of a knife in the town last year told a court the incident related to an ongoing feud with another man.
Robert Ferris (35) of 2, Church Lane, Westport appeared before Westport District Court, sitting in Castlebar, last Thursday in relation to an incident in the early hours of August 13 last.
Garda Seán Conneely told the court that at 2.30am gardaí received a call of a disturbance outside a home on McNeela Terrace, Quay Road, Westport.
When he arrived at the location five minutes later he spoke to Tara O’Connor, who lives there, and her partner at the time, Eugene O’Malley. Mr O’Malley’s car was parked in the driveway.
Garda Conneely told the court that they told him Mr Ferris had called and was ‘ranting and raving’ and calling Eugene O’Malley to come out and fight him. They saw Mr Ferris had a kitchen knife in his hand and they called the gardaí at that point.
They said Ferris slashed two tyres in Mr O’Malley’s car and damaged the windscreen, causing €320 worth of damage, before leaving.
After calling to the scene, gardaí went in search of Robert Ferris and found him sitting in his car outside his apartment and arrested him. He admitted the offences.
Garda Conneely told the court Ferris was an ex-boyfriend of Ms O’Connor. He said the dispute was ‘along the lines’ of a lover’s tiff.
Robert Ferris represented himself. He told the court a dispute is ‘going on for a year and a half’ with Eugene O’Malley. He claimed he was getting harassed and threatened and also claimed he was assaulted by Mr O’Malley in a shop but that no witnesses would come forward.
He said what happened on the night was ‘an error of judgement’. He said the dispute was ongoing.
Judge Mary Devins said Ferris was ‘nearly 36’ and asked him was it ‘not time you got a bit of sense’. She said the knife he carried ‘could have inflicted serious damage’ and that he could have ‘seriously injured or killed the young man or woman’.
She warned Mr Ferris that he was ‘in the criminal justice system’ and not on a ‘reality TV show’. She said he could be put in prison for up to two years.
She adjourned the matter until July 5, in light of the ‘evident volatility’ of the situation to monitor what happens in the mean time.

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