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Mayo man ‘flipped’ and vandalised his family’s cars


A BELMULLET man who was going through a marriage break-up ‘flipped’ and caused nearly €3,000 to his ex-wife’s and some of his children’s cars after hitting them with a piece of scaffolding.
John Cafferkey of Attycunnane, Belmullet, appeared before last week’s sitting of Belmullet District Court, where he pleaded guilty to four charges of criminal damage to four cars at his former family home at Attycunnane, Belmullet on July 7, 2018.
The court heard that Mr Cafferkey had spent the day moving his possessions out of the house on foot of a High Court order following separation proceedings between him and his wife. Mr Cafferkey had until 6pm to remove his personal items from the house. When he returned to the house shortly after 6pm, he found that the entrance to the driveway was blocked by his ex-wife’s car, as well as cars belonging to his son, daughter and daughter’s partner.
Mr Cafferkey picked up a piece of scaffolding and proceeded to damage the cars and also threaten his family. The court heard that his wife is in her 50s and his children are in their 20s.
Mr Michael Bohan, solicitor for Mr Cafferkey, said that Mr Cafferkey and his wife had broken up in 2014 and that the separation proceedings had ended up in the High Court the day before the incident, when the instruction to remove his personal belongings had been issued.
Mr Bohan said that following the High Court, Mr Cafferkey had to go to Ballina, where he worked a 12 hour night shift. He arrived back in Belmullet at 9am and spent the rest of the day moving the items to another house, 100 yards down the road.
He said that when Mr Cafferkey went to the house shortly after 6pm and found the entrance blocked, he flipped, lost control, took a bar of scaffolding and hit out at the cars.
Sergeant Seán McHale agreed with Mr Bohan that his client was out of control and that he also assaulted his son. Sgt McHale described the assault as ‘minimal’ and ‘a slap’.
Judge Fiona Lydon was told that the total damage to the four vehicles amounted to €2,941.50, and that Mr Cafferkey had paid for the repairs in full.
Mr Bohan said his client accepted he was completely in the wrong and that he was remorseful for his actions. He added that Mr Cafferkey had retrained after his family business closed, and that he was now working for the HSE with people with intellectual disabilities. Mr Bohan said that he felt a criminal record will put his job in jeopardy, and he added that his client had entered an anger-management course.
Judge Lydon said she would like to hear from the victims in the case before finalising the sentence, and she adjourned the case until November 13.