Limerickman jailed for ‘appalling, random and reckless’ arson attack

David Hurley

Reporter:

David Hurley

Judge Tom O' Donnell
A YOUNG man who set fire to a parked car because he was “irked” at having been refused entry to a private party will be spending Christmas in prison after he received a three year sentence.

A YOUNG man who set fire to a parked car because he was “irked” at having been refused entry to a private party will be spending Christmas in prison after he received a three year sentence.

Stephen Power, aged 23, of The Path, Garryowen pleaded guilty to charges of arson and reckless endangerment relating to an incident at St Patrick’s Road on August 9, 2013.

During a sentencing hearing, Garda Sean Dixon said the incident happened shortly after midnight a short time after the defendant had been refused entry to a private function at the Fairview Rangers clubhouse.

Having been turned away, Power left the clubhouse and was observed by security staff jumping the wall of a nearby house minutes later.

Garda Dixon told John O’Sullivan BL, prosecuting, the defendant then broke into a Ford Fiesta car which was parked outside the house and set it alight - because he was “p***** off”.

The court was told the fire spread to the house and that a middle-aged woman, who was living there alone had to be evacuated by firemen who forced their way inside.

While the woman was not injured around €15,000 worth of damage was caused to the house and car.

With the assistance of the security staff from Fairview Rangers, the defendant was quickly identified and was arrested nearby.

Following his arrest, Power admitted what he had done and told gardai he had consumed eight cans of Bud and “Up John” tablets at a local graveyard earlier in the night,

Mark Nicholas BL, defending, said his client accepted it was a “stupid, reckless thing to do” but submitted he had “greatly aided the prosecution case” by making admissions and pleading guilty to the charges.

He said Power, who has 35 previous convictions, had no ill-feelings towards the woman and had picked the car and house at random because of its proximity to the soccer club.

Imposing sentence, Judge Tom O’Donnell noted the defendant has been in custody since his arrest, is doing well in prison and is now drug free.

He said some psychological issues had been identified and that they “need to be attended to”.

However, he commented that arson is one of the most serious offences in law and he noted that Power has a previous conviction for arson.

He said the actions of the accused, which he described as an “appalling, random and reckless crime”, could have had fatal consequences and that it had been a “very frightening experience for the woman” who has not stayed alone at the house since. He added that the random nature of his actions were an aggravating factor as was the fact that no explanation had been put forward.

He imposed a four-year prison sentence, suspending the final year for twelve months for four years on condition Power stays out of trouble following his release.