A CLONAKILTY hospital worker who had already been dealing with the Covid-19 pandemic, told a court that she was terrified to park her car outside her home, after her brother-in-law slashed four tyres on her car.
At Clonakilty District Court, Jim Cowhig of North Ring, Clonakilty pleaded guilty to the criminal damage charge of slashing the four tyres of a car belonging to Diana Lauder.
Sgt Paul Kelly told the court that on March 19th at 2pm, gardaí received a report about a car being damaged at Sand’s Quay in Clonakilty. On arrival they found that all four tyres of a Black Fiat 500 had been slashed, with a hole punctured in each of the tyres with a knife. Sgt Kelly said the damage came to €410 and the car had to be towed away.
CCTV footage showed the defendant in the area at 1.58am on March 19th and on July 9th Cowhig was arrested and he made full admissions to gardaí.
The court heard that Cowhig, who works as a tradesman, has three previous convictions and was disqualified from driving for three years in June of last year.
Mr Cowhig’s solicitor, Colette McCarthy, said that until two years ago her client’s life was going well but then difficulties arose. She said the injured party was Cowhig’s sister-in-law.
‘Alcohol was a big factor here and he felt aggrieved as he was out of his home and between places and he said what he did was a moment of madness and he had been in a fraught situation at the time,’ said Ms McCarthy.
In a victim impact statement read out by Judge James McNulty, Diana Lauder said that she works in Clonakilty Hospital and ‘it was already a very stressful time dealing with Covid-19.’
‘I was terrified to park my car outside and I had to park it at my sister’s in case it happened again. It was an awful shock to me that someone I was on good terms with would do that to me,’ she said in her letter.
Ms McCarthy said her client has been for treatment for his alcohol addiction and had the full amount of compensation for Ms Lauder.
‘He was struggling and seems to have got himself back on the straight and narrow,’ she said, and added that he had no axe to grind with the injured party.
Mr Cowhig told Judge McNulty that he very much regrets what he did and apologised for his actions.
Judge McNulty said the court takes a very serious view of this matter and was considering a custodial sentence. He asked that Cowhig be assessed as to his suitability for community service.
Judge McNulty convicted him on the charge and asked that the assessment be completed for a future district court sitting, to be held in Skibbereen.