A MAN who started a fire after splashing petrol on his estranged wife and their children has been warned he will go to prison if there are any further incidents.
The 40-year-old, who can’t be named for legal reason, has pleaded guilty to several charges including arson, criminal damage and breaching the terms of a Barring Order.
Garda Cathal O’Gorman told Limerick Circuit Court the offences occurred at a house in the Corbally area shortly before 6pm on March 17, 2017 and again the following day.
He said after gardai responded to reports of a disturbance on St Patrick’s Day, they were informed the defendant had tried to set fire to part of the family home.
The garda told John O’Sullivan BL, prosecuting, he lives in a “granny flat” adjacent to the house and that he and his wife had an altercation which escalated.
After arming himself with a drill the 40-year-old broke the front door and entered the main house where he poured petrol on an internal door which he then set on fire.
Garda O’Gorman said the defendant also ‘splashed’ some petrol on his wife on children who were terrified. The fire was quickly put out and no serious damage was caused.
Judge Tom O’Donnell was told the accused man was threatening and aggressive towards gardai who had to forcibly enter the granny flat following their arrival.
Barrister Jack Nicholas told the court his client has a serious drinking problem and that he was very drunk on the day. “All of his difficulties relate to alcohol, he gets especially aggressive after drink,” he said.
Mr Nicholas said his client continues to live at the granny flat and that there have been no further incidents.
When asked, Garda O’Gorman confirmed that the Barring Order is no longer in place.
Imposing sentence Judge O’Donnell said what happened was of “enormous concern” to him,
“This was a serious enough incident, it was very very dangerous territory,” he commented.
He imposed a 12-month sentence which was suspended in full.