Limerick body-builder claims pick-axes were for DIY use

Anne Sheridan

Reporter:

Anne Sheridan

A BODY-BUILDER from Kileely has avoided a jail term, after gardai found him with two “dangerous and heavy duty” pick-axe handles in the boot of his car on two separate occasions.

A BODY-BUILDER from Kileely has avoided a jail term, after gardai found him with two “dangerous and heavy duty” pick-axe handles in the boot of his car on two separate occasions.

Damien Carmello, 31, of O’Callaghan Avenue, Kileely, pleaded not guilty to charge of possessing offensive weapons on June 1, 2012, which gardai believed could have been used for his own protection or to inflict harm on others.

The accused maintained that he had bought the pick axe handles for DIY purposes the day before he was stopped by gardai during a drugs search on his vehicle, to do work in his sister’s garden.

Carmello was first stopped by Garda Brian Murphy on May 27, and told gardai he’d remove them from the car, after being told they would constitute a weapon under the Firearms and Offensive Weapons Act. But five days later he was again stopped by gardai on a routine patrol in Kileely, and offered the same explanation for the items.

A sum of €745 in cash was found on him during the search, and over 40 tablets were found in the glove-box, which they claimed he used for body-building and slimming purposes, and were bought on the internet. He said these were for his own use, and he was not selling them to others. The pick-axe handles were again found in the boot and were seized by gardai.

He denied the money was from the proceeds of drug dealing, and said it was for his mortgage.

Solicitor John Herbert said his client was sitting in the car with two other men in broad daylight, and was not causing intimidation to anyone at the time.

The accused said as a result of a bereavement he had forgotten about the items in the car, and said they had stopped the DIY work as a result of the death. “They were the last thing on my mind. My head was all over the place,” he said.

Judge Eugene O’Kelly at Limerick District Court said the matter rested on the credibility of the witness, whom he believed lied to gardai on two occasions.

He convicted Carmello, who has a number of previous convictions dating back prior to 2005, but suspended a five-month prison sentence for 10 months. The destruction of the pick-axes were offered.