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Boy (15) burglar threatened with decapitation given custodial sentence

CourtsBy Tom Tuite
The boy's drug fuelled anti-social behaviour led to threats he would be shot or decapitated and gardai still fear for his safety
The boy's drug fuelled anti-social behaviour led to threats he would be shot or decapitated and gardai still fear for his safety

A 15-YEAR-OLD burglar, who was driven out of his locality because of his criminal activities, has been given a five-month custodial sentence.

The boy's drug fuelled anti-social behaviour led to threats he would be shot or decapitated and gardai still fear for his safety, the Dublin Children's Court was told.

He pleaded guilty to a litany of theft, burglary and attempted burglary charges as well as knife possession and criminal damage in connection with incidents in west Dublin on three dates in August and September last year.

Last October, after spending a period in custody on remand he was granted bail on condition he took up a placement on a residential programme run by a private organisation which specialises in helping troubled youths.

They offered to help after learning about the boy's situation from reports in the news media.

The teenager, who had five prior criminal convictions, had stuck with the plan for about six months, however, by the end of March he absconded and refused to go back because he did not like the regime in the programme.

Judge John O'Connor said the teenager, who was accompanied to court by his mother and his lawyer, had been given every opportunity by the court. After hearing there was “a significant fear of self harming” he ordered that the boy must get medical attention in custody. He will also be on supervised probation for five months following his release.

The court also heard that while awaiting sentence he had arrested at his home “heavily intoxicated” for possessing a knife. His mother had called gardai out of concern for her son's well being. The boy's prior convictions included knife possession, burglary, possessing stolen property and arson.

He broke bail conditions, had recently been the victim of an assault and gardai continued to have concerns for the teen's safety, Judge O'Connor was told.

The court had heard neighbours were fed up with him and blamed him for a crime spree in their locality. His mother feared for his safety due to threats. “These people are not people to mess with,” she had said during a previous hearing.

She also said she was afraid for her and her family's safety. His granny said she could not have him in her home any more and locals had wanted her evicted because of his activities.

The grandmother said that she has been told that the boy “was going to be shot” and “going to be decapitated” if he returned to the area.

The boy has pleaded guilty to two counts of trespassing with intent to commit theft, theft of about €2,000 worth of power tools, stealing a mountain bike worth €200, and three counts of attempted burglary. These incidents took place at seven locations, all residential addresses, on September 29 last year.

He admitted criminal damage to a car, possessing a knife and possessing a wooden pole as a weapon during a row at a relation's home, on a date last August. He has also admitted possessing a knife as weapon on September 4 last year and skipping court on another date.

The teenager had told the court that he wanted to get help for his problems. Defence solicitor Michelle Finan asked for the boy to be given a last chance to prove himself. However, Judge O'Connor said he had “nothing to go on” to consider granting bail to the teenager.