Row over rubbish sparked death threats in Limerick town

David Hurley

Reporter:

David Hurley

Email:

david.hurley@limerickleader.ie

Row over rubbish sparked death threats in Limerick town

NCW Court heard that the accused climbed out of his window and threatened to stab another man after being asked to clear away rubbish in the drive

A FATHER-of-two who climbed out the window of his home and threatened to stab another man after he was asked to clear rubbish from his driveway has been sentenced to three months’ imprisonment.

Imposing sentence, Judge Mary Larkin said the behaviour of Robert Heffernan, 25, of Templegreen, Newcastle West was “quite extraordinary” and that she had no option but to jail him.

Newcastle West Court was told the charges before the court related to an incident on the evening June 15, last.

In his evidence Wojciech Jopek said he called to a friend’s house at around 9pm to deliver a car which he had repaired earlier in the day. 

While there his friend - Marzena Kopczynska – asked that he speak to her neighbour about rubbish which had been left in the driveway and in front of her house.

“She doesn’t speak English, I was asked to do a favour. She asked me to ask her neighbour to clean up the driveway,” he told Inspector Andrew Lacey. 

Mr Jopek said when he spoke to the defendant he “began quarrelling” with him. A physical altercation then took place but quickly died down as the neighbours returned to their own homes.

The witness, who does not live in Templegreen, said the defendant’s partner appeared to lock the door of their home but that Mr Heffernan “jumped out” a downstairs window and produced a large curved knife.

“He threatened he was going to kill us,” he said adding the knife was similar to a carpet knife and had a ten inch blade.

“He said he was going to kill us – stab us,” he told the court adding he was scared he would be assaulted and quickly left the estate.

Cross examining Mr Jopek, solicitor Enda O’Connor asked why he had approached his client’s home. “Why didn’t you just mind you own business? Why didn’t you just deliver (the car) and go?”

The witness replied he was asked to do a favour by Ms Kopczynska.

Mr O’Connor put it to him that he has poor English and would not have understood any threat had one been made.

“He was threatening everybody,” replied Mr Jopek.

Giving evidence with the assistance of a translator,  Ms Kopczynska said she was “irritated” by rubbish from refurbishment works which were carried out at Mr Heffernan’s home.

She described how Mr Heffernan began to “shout and roar in our direction” after he was approached by Mr Jopek.

She said after jumping out the window of his home, he approached her home and began kicking the front door.

When Mr O’Connor put it to her that her relationship with his client was “not good,” Ms Kopczynska replied there had been a number of minor incidents in the past but that generally there is no contact between them.

Judge Mary Larkin was told a number of gardai attended the scene on the night and that when arrested and questioned a number of days later, Mr Heffernan replied “no comment”.

Convicting the defendant, she said she had no doubt  things happened as described by Mr Jopek and Ms Kopcznska who, she said, were solid individuals.

“I don’t believe they would invent a story about him. I have absolutely no doubt it happened,” she said.

She imposed a three month prison sentence in relation to the threat charge while the knife charge was taken into consideration.

Mr Heffernan was fined €100 for a separate minor drugs offence which he admitted.