A WESTPORT teenager threatened a man with a disability in his bed with a knife before taking €150 in coins from his home, a court heard.
Oisín Brennan (18) of Cloonmonad Close, Westport, appeared before last week’s sitting of Westport District Court charged with a number of offences committed over a five-month period when he was 17 years old.
Mr Brennan was also charged with a number of motoring offences and the theft of €1,000 worth of alcohol from a Westport hotel between December 2017 and May 2018.
Inspector Denis Harrington explained that on February 27, 2018, Brennan and a girl aged just 15 entered the house of the man while he was in bed, at approximately 9.50pm. Wearing a pillow case over his head, Mr Brennan threatened the man with a knife and demanded money from him. He found two jars containing €150 worth of coins and took them.
The court heard that the girl’s aunt was a carer for the man, who is confined to a wheelchair, and that she used her aunt’s key to enter the house.
Mr Brennan was also charged with dangerous driving and drug driving following an incident on May 30, 2018, when he tried to evade capture from the Gardaí and crashed into a wall near Aughavale Cemetery in Westport.
Garda Paul Lafferty said gardaí received a call about four youths in a Toyota Yaris. He came upon the car at Lecanvey and witnessed it overtaking cars at the brow of a hill. He followed the car and met it at the Croagh Patrick car park at Murrisk. The driver undertook three vehicles at Murrisk to evade the Garda car and twice overtook groups of cyclists, forcing oncoming traffic to stop to avoid a collision.
Garda Lafferty said as the car tried to turn towards Aughavale Cemetery, it struck a wall and Mr Brennan was arrested after a short foot pursuit. He was brought to Westport Garda Station where a subsequent blood test proved positive for cannabis.
While Brennan was in custody, Garda Lafferty noted that he was wearing clothes that matched the description of a person caught on CCTV taking alcohol from the Westport Woods Hotel on May 25, 2018. When questioned, Mr Brennan admitted to taking the alcohol, which was worth €1,000. The court heard that he walked into the bar of the hotel at around 2.30am, loaded the cases of alcohol on a trolly and walked out. The alcohol was never recovered.
The defendant was also charged with trespassing in a vacant apartment at Parklands, Westport, on December 14, 2017, and with drink driving and driving without a licence or insurance on another date.
Mr James Ward, solicitor for the defendant, said his client had committed a ‘gruesome’ act when he threatened the man with a disability, and there was no getting away from the gravity of the incident.
In his defence, Mr Ward said his client had co-operated fully with the gardaí on all occasions, that he was a juvenile at the time and that he had no previous convictions. He described his family background as ‘not conducive to a good upbringing’.
Since Mr Brennan was arrested in May, Mr Ward said, he has left Westport, stopped drinking and is currently living and working in Co Galway. He added that he has not come to the attention of the Gardaí since, and that there has been a sea-change in his attitude to life.
He said Mr Brennan had ‘copped himself on’ and suggested to Judge Fiona Lydon that she consider adjourning sentencing for the preparation of a probation report.
Judge Lydon replied that she wanted Mr Brennan to address the issue of compensation before dealing with a probation report. She adjourned sentencing until May 16 and also asked for the injured parties to be canvassed on whether they wanted to make victim impact statements.