Sunday 18 February 2018

Man set fire to own car and tried to claim insurance

Fiona Ferguson

A MAN who admitted to gardai he had set fire to his own car but still submitted a claim to his insurance company will be sentenced in October.

Paul Devoy (24), of O'Devaney Gardens, North Circular Road, Dublin, pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to damaging a car at the Phoenix Park on March 3, 2009. He has 40 previous convictions.

Judge Patrick McCartan noted 10 years was the maximum sentence for this offence and adjourned the case until October for a probation report to see if unemployed Devoy could be put to “useful employment”.

Garda Conor Cahill told Cormac Quinn BL, prosecuting, that a park ranger on patrol noticed a black Audi car on fire and saw a man walking towards him.

The man told the park ranger that it was his car, that it was insured. He told him not to touch it or ring the gardai.

Gardai on their way to the scene saw a man matching the description given by the park ranger and asked the man what he had been doing in the park. Devoy told gardai he had been burning his car because he did not want it any more.

Devoy said he had used a cigarette lighter to set fire to the seats. He said it was his property, it was fully insured and he could burn it if he wanted.

Devoy later came to a garda station and said his car had been hijacked. He said he had been stopped at a junction, when someone grabbed the keys, told him to get out and drove off in the direction of the park.

Devoy had made a claim to Axa Insurance which he withdrew in July 2009 but re-entered it the following October. No money was paid out but the company was at a loss of €800 due to assessing the damaged car. Devoy claimed the car was worth €15,500.

Gda Cahill agreed with Luigi Rea BL, defending, that Devoy was someone who had “messed up his life” by drinking and abusing drugs. The garda did not accept a suggestion that there was someone “sinister” in the background.

Mr Rea said the car had been on hire-purchase and Devoy could not afford it.

Counsel said Devoy’s last offence was in November 2010 and he seems to be making an effort to turn his life around. He submitted Devoy might benefit from supervision by the Probation Service.

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