Sunday 15 September 2019

Man with 230 previous convictions jailed for falsely imprisoning two teen boys

The case was brought before the Dublin Circuit Criminal Court
The case was brought before the Dublin Circuit Criminal Court

Aoife Nic Ardghail

A Dublin man with 230 previous convictions has been jailed for falsely imprisoning and threatening two young teenage boys during a “frightening” drug-induced paranoia.

Dublin Circuit Criminal Court heard today that Michael Cummins (32) threatened to pour what he said was acid into one of the boy's eyes and said he was going to blow their house up during the incident in Swords in August last year.

Garda Miriam O'Donovan said Cummins approached the 13-year-old and 15-year-old from across the street saying: “Why were you looking at me, I get very paranoid”.

He then hit the 13-year-old, ordered the boy to delete pictures “with eyes on them” from his phone and barged into this child's home.

The teenagers asked a passerby to call gardaí before following Cummins, who was jailed for two years, into the house.

The older boy later said he saw the intruder go upstairs and return wearing a wig, peaked cap and carrying a bag. He also saw Cummins take a wallet from the kitchen.

Gda O'Donovan said that while Cummins had them locked in the house, he demanded each boy to look him in the eyes “and don't look away”. She said he hit the younger teen twice more during this ordeal.

Cummins, a father-of-two of Applewood Avenue, Swords, pleaded guilty to stealing an iPhone, making a threat to kill, burglary, false imprisonment and assault in Swords on August 9, 2017.

His 230 previous convictions include thefts, burglaries, unauthorised taking of vehicles, possessing stolen property and 100 road traffic offences.

Gda O'Donovan told Maurice Coffey BL, prosecuting, that Cummins again ordered the 13-year-old to delete pictures while he had locked them all in the home.

The boy who jumped a 12-foot drop out the kitchen window in his bare feet to get away from the intruder.

Gda O'Donovan said Cummins unlocked the front door after brief negotiations when gardaí arrived on the scene.

The 13-year-old later told a child specialist garda interviewer that Cummins had threatened to pour what he claimed was acid, but what was later found to be eye-drops, into the boy's eyes.

He also threatened to blow the house up. Gardaí recovered a wallet and phone from Cummins at the scene.

Victim impact reports made on behalf of the boys by their caregivers revealed that both of them were more fearful in public and that the incident had had detrimental effects on their well-being.

The court heard the neither boy had known Cummins, though the older boy had seen him once before on a bus.

Gda O'Donovan agreed with Luigi Rea BL, defending, that Cummins's guilty plea had been a great relief to the children.

The garda accepted that Cummins, who has been in custody since the incident, apologised for his behaviour. She further agreed that Cummins had been experiencing paranoia induced from mixing cannabis and tablets on the day.

Mr Rea submitted to Judge Martin Nolan that his client had “made a mess of his life” and that drugs had “harmed him and led to a terrible state of mind”.

He said Cummins understood that his way of life could not continue without serious physical and psychological consequences.

Judge Nolan noted that Cummins presented “as a very frightening person to these two young people” on the day. He accepted Cummins's remorse but said it was a voluntary activity to take drugs and that he was liable for his behaviour.

He imposed a two-year sentence backdated to when Cummins went into custody.

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