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Man jailed for torching man's door following phone row

Man jailed for torching man's door following phone row

A Moldovan man who set fire to his former housemate's door following a row about a missing mobile phone has been sentenced to three and half years.

Roman Vladislav (35) had previously made drunken threats to the residents after his phone went missing as he believed one of them had taken it.

He returned to the house and set the fire after gardaí were called to a “commotion” at the house earlier that evening.

Vladislav of Walton Hall, Riverbank, Swords, Co Dublin pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to damaging a property, at Seabury Parade, Malahide, by fire and being reckless as to whether the lives of the occupants were endangered on May 9, 2016.

Judge Karen O'Connor who previously adjourned the sentence last May having heard evidence, noted that Vladislav had used his time in custody to date in a productive fashion.

Today she acknowledged that a positive probation report put Vladislav at a moderate risk of re-offending.

She noted that a victim impact statement outlined how the woman Vladislav was living with at the time now carries something to protect herself at all times and has a baseball bat, shovel and axe by her bedroom.

“She has lost her degree of comfort in her home and is constantly checking on her sons,” the judge stated, reading from the report.

Judge O'Connor accepted that Vladislav had co-operated with the garda investigation and was “under the influence” at the time but added “with fire, one cannot be certain of the outcome”.

She said it was a pre-meditated act and that Vladislav had made threats in the past before she sentenced him to three and half years in prison with the final 12 months suspended.

Dean Kelly BL, defending, said at the earlier sentence hearing that Vladislav had been living here for ten years and had worked "ceaselessly" during that time in various jobs.

He said Vladislav had a significant problem with alcohol and its use and abuse was the backdrop to all the problems in his life.

Mr Kelly said the plea was accepted on the basis that Vladislav was reckless as to the possible outcomes but not that he intended to cause death or serious injury. He said his client acknowledged the gravity of the offence.

Counsel said he was making the case that Vladislav was not the sum of what happened in the early hours of that day and submitted that a probation report might also be of assistance.

Detective Garda Donal O'Connell told John Quirke BL, prosecuting, that Vladislav was living in the house with a woman, her two adult sons and a student.

He said things were initially fine in the house but disharmony arose following a party where Vladislav was prevented from driving when he was drunk.

He said that in the period before the offence Vladislav was of the opinion that one of the people in the house had taken his mobile phone.

He said that Vladislav would become aggressive and abusive when drinking and make threats to people in the house but things would then die down again.

One of the residents said she would sleep with her door locked at times due to the accused.

The court heard that on the evening of the offence gardaí were called to the house after neighbours noticed a “commotion” going on.

Vladislav, who had been drinking with three friends in the garden of the house, had been confronted by the other residents after grabbing a phone from one of them.

During the commotion Vladislav had grabbed the arm of one of the residents and put a knife to her throat before threatening to kill her and her sons and burn them.

He repeated the threats to kill and burn them in a later phone call. He left the area before gardaí arrived.

The residents were still awake at 2pm when smoke began coming into the house. The fire brigade attended and helped to put out the fire.

The front door was badly burned but no fire had encroached inside the house. Accelerant had been poured on the door.

Vladislav, who has 13 previous convictions, was arrested the following day.

The garda agreed with Mr Kelly that the incidents of violence at the house prior to the arson had been of a "low level" and that Vladislav had got "a blow or two himself."

He agreed that Vladislav had dealt politely with gardai.