THE Court of Appeal has lengthened the prison term imposed on a young man who forced a woman to drive around the city while threatening her at knifepoint.
James Kelly, aged 26, who has an address at Maple Court, Kennedy Park was sentenced to six years imprisonment, in October 2011, after he admitted falsely imprisoning the woman when she got off a train at Colbert station on May 4 of the same year.
He also pleaded guilty to hijacking her car on the same date.
During the original sentencing hearing, Limerick Circuit Court heard Kelly, who has more than 50 previous convictions, proceeded to rob €40 from the woman before ordering her to drive to the Roxboro Shopping Centre where he forced her to withdraw €500 in cash from an ATM.
The victim, who is from County Limerick, told gardai Kelly had “a look of evil in him” and that at one point during the terrifying ordeal, which lasted for more than 20 minutes, Kelly told her he was “wanted for rape and murder” and to do what he said.
In her victim impact statement, the woman described how she could not work for a number of weeks afterwards and how her daughter’s First Holy Communion. which happened three days later, had been ruined.
Upholding an appeal against the undue leniency of the original sentence, Mr Justice Garrett Sheehan noted Kelly was a chronic heroin addict and had witnessed the unlawful killing of his father at eight years of age.
He said the starting point for Kelly’s sentence, in light of the threats made and the fact that he was on bail at the time for another offence, was eight years imprisonment.
Mr Justice Sheehan, who sat with Mr Justice John Edwards and Mr Justice Alan Mahon said Kelly was remorseful, had made admissions to gardaí and had pleaded guilty to the charges.
In light of the mitigating factors and Kelly’s personal circumstances, the court imposed an eight year prison sentence, suspending the final two years.