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driving ban Gang enforcer crashed into home causing €40k worth of damage following garda chase, court hears

'Skitter' Finglas was previously described as acting as the "brawn" in a gang who beat a businessman so severely that he asked to be shot to end his ordeal.

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Anthony 'Skitter'  Finglas

Anthony 'Skitter' Finglas

Anthony 'Skitter' Finglas

A grandfather serving a jail sentence for demanding money with menaces has been banned from driving after a court heard how he was involved in a car chase with gardai reaching speeds of 160km/h.

The court heard how the defendant drive on the wrong side of the road into oncoming traffic, and which only ended when he crashed his car into a family home causing almost €40,000 worth of damage.

Anthony, 'Skitters' Finglas,(50), originally from Drogheda, County Louth, but now with an address in Warrenpoint, Co Down, pleaded guilty, at Trim Circuit Court last week, to charges of criminal damage, dangerous driving and driving without insurance, at Platin Road, Drogheda on December 13th 2018.

When Judge Patrick Quinn was told that Finglas could pay €3k in compensation he described the offer as 'derisory'.

Last December Finglas was jailed for five years and three months, at the Special Criminal Court, with the final six months suspended for his involvement in a violent attack on a county Mayo businessman.

He was described as acting as the "brawn" in a gang who claimed to be dissident republicans and who beat the businessman so severely that he asked to be shot to end his ordeal.

The non jury Court heard that Mayo businessman Edward McAndrew was beaten with iron bars and threatened by a group of men demanding money in Omeath, Co Louth, in 2017.

Finglas pleaded guilty to demanding money with menaces from Mr McAndrew at One Ferry Hill, Cornamucklagh, Omeath, Co Louth, on December 2, 2017.

At the Trim hearing last week Garda James Durkan told the court how the dramatic chase began when he spotted Finglas driving on Marley Road in Drogheda earlier on the evening of the crash.

He said: "The driver indicated to turn right but actually turned left on to the Donore Road, I activated the blue lights on the car and signaled the driver to stop, instead he sped off and was driving at speed of up to 160km/h.

"He was swerving in and out and oncoming traffic had to move out of the way, I lost sight of him after he went the wrong way round a roundabout and I was then stood down from the pursuit."

Garda Durkan then revealed that the car was later found to have crashed through a hedge and into a house near the Irish Cement factory at Platin between Drogheda and the village of Duleek, County Meath.

Finglas was spotted running out the gateway of the house and was arrested after a brief struggle.

The total cost of the damage to the property was €38.397.74.

The court was told that Finglas 'took flight', as he was banned from driving at the time.

In a victim impact statement the occupants of the house said their Christmas had been ruined and they had been left shocked by what had happened.

After Judge Quinn told Finglas, who the court heard had 87 previous convictions, including ones for drugs, assault, firearm offences, and dangerous driving, that his compensation offer was derisory, the defendant agreed to forego the €1k bail money he had posted and added that to the compensation.

He was sentenced to four years, all of which was suspended on the criminal damage charge and handed a five year ban from driving.

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