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A MAN who tried to set his neighbours' home on fire and tried to attack them with a chainsaw after they called him names has been given community service.

A MAN who tried to set his neighbours' home on fire and tried to attack them with a chainsaw after they called him names has been given community service.

Luke Kelly, (26) of Ballykeeran, Kilmacrennan, Co Donegal appeared before Letterkenny Circuit Court.

He was charged with assault causing harm, and also causing criminal damage to the Lafferty family home on July 23, 2014.

Garda Siobhan Campbell said they received a 999 call to the Lafferty home after an incident involving Kelly.

Matthew Lafferty had been punched in the jaw, she said.

Kelly then poured petrol over the Lafferty home and then chased other members of the family with a chainsaw and a pitchfork.

Garda Campbell said Kelly claimed it was Matthew Lafferty who had the chainsaw and that the fire started when sparks form the chainsaw came into contact with some petrol.

Kelly did admit breaking some windows in the house.

Shane Lafferty also claimed that he had received some burns to his arm as a result of the altercation.

The court heard there had been a history between the families and that this issue arose out of a name-calling incident.

The court heard the Lafferty family had since moved out of the area and that Kelly had not been in trouble since.

Barrister Peter Nolan said the incident was a wake-up call for Kelly who was terrified of going to jail.

The court heard he had previous convictions for various offences including assault, criminal damage and using threatening and abusive behaviour.

However, Mr Nolan pleaded for a chance for his client saying he thought he had had his "last brush with the law".

He handed €300 into court to cover the cost of the smashed windows.

Judge John O'Hagan said the entire incident read like something out of a massacre novel.

"You have to ask yourself if it is real or not," he added.

He sentenced Kelly to a total of 21 months but substituted the term with 200 hours community service in lieu of the jail sentence.

"I hope he takes advantage of this fresh start," said the judge.


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