Tuesday 12 December 2017

Man avoids jail for threatening to ‘chop up’ woman’s son

Conor Gallagher

A man has avoided jail for bursting into a woman’s house armed with sword-like blade and threatening to “chop up” her son.

A follow up search of the accused’s house revealed €8,000 worth of heroin and an invoice book.

Andrew Farrell (31) has 18 previous convictions including three counts of indecency. These involve a case where he exposed himself to teenage girls three times in one day.

Farrell formerly of Grove Court, Grove Road, Blanchardstown pleaded guilty to aggravated burglary, criminal damage and possession of drugs for sale or supply between 13 and 15 December 2009 at his home and at Lisa Breen’s home on Whitestown Drive, also in Blanchardstown.

Today Judge Mary Ellen Ring imposed a suspended sentence despite hearing from Ms Breen that Farrell’s apology was unacceptable and “there should be consequences” for his actions.

The judge said she was “going to take a step that many may find difficult to understand” before imposing a five year suspended sentence. She also ordered Farrell pay €5000 in compensation.

Dublin Circuit Criminal Court heard the victims do not want money from Farrell but Judge Ring said they may find it useful to pay for counselling. She said the money can be paid to charity if they continue to refuse it.

Judge Ring said she was suspending the sentence because of Farrell’s efforts to rehabilitate and the fact that he has been offered a job “in this economic climate”. She also took into account a favourable report from the Probation Service.

Ms Breen, who was in the house at the time with her 18 year old daughter, told the court that she was rooted to the spot with fear as Farrell swung the large knife around. She said the incident had a huge affect on their lives and her daughter now locks herself in her room and suffers panic attacks whenever she goes outside.

Farrell apologised to Ms Breen from the witness box and said he hates himself “for putting myself, the victims and my family through this”

Ms Breen, who was at the back of the court, responded: “His apology, after three and a half years, is not acceptable. There should be consequences for things like this.”

Garda Adrian Kildea told prosecuting counsel Fiona McGowan BL that on December 13, Ms Breen arrived home to find her front window smashed. Two days later she saw Farrell standing outside her house, shouting “Where’s Daniel?”

He pushed his way into the house while waving a foot-long blade with a bend in the middle. Farrell searched each room of the house before approaching the 18 year girl who was getting ready for school.

He demanded to know where he brother was and said he was going to “chop him up.” He then said to Ms Breen: “Tell your son I’m going to cut him into pieces”

He added, “He’s going to get that” while making a gun sign with his fingers.

Gardaí later arrested Farrell. They failed to find the weapon in his house but did locate the cocaine, invoice book and weighing scales.

Farrell claimed in interview that he went to the house after a row several days previously with a group which included Ms Breen’s son.

He denied having the blade and said he would have just punched his target if he found him in the house.

Online Editors

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