A 21 year old man who went on a crime spree in Ardee in the early hours of New Year’s Day last year - during which two people were threatened with a Stanley knife – one of whom was injured, was jailed for a total of two years at Dundalk Circuit Court last Tuesday.
Darren Winters with an address at Cuirt Droim Ard, Carrickmacross pleaded guilty to a series of offences including burglary, criminal damage, attempted robbery and assault causing harm - all of which were committed in less than 90 minutes.
The first incident - which happened around 8am, involved the accused kicking a wing mirror off a car parked outside a pub on Irish Street in Ardee.
He then burgled Home and Garden Stores, during which €500 in damage was caused to the front door of the premises and went on to steal a bicycle at Lamb’s Terrace. The bike had been locked to a drain pipe, which was damaged when it was pulled off the wall and although the bike itself was recovered it had been damaged.
A witness who saw Darren Winters remove the bike and then returned to his car, saw the defendant testing a door at the side of a house.
The accused produced a Stanley knife and demanded money, saying "Give me €20 - I owe thousands" and struck out at the man, slashing through a number of layers of clothing and cutting his bicep.
The defendant made further attempts to slash out at him with the knife.
The court also heard how the accused produced the knife again to a woman - who had just bought milk in a local shop, saying "Give me your money." Saying he needed €50 to pay off people he owed money to and told her "I’m stronger than you" but he left empty handed.
Following his arrest at 9.18am, the accused said he’d got a lift to Ardee from a friend and was looking for female company. He claimed he had no recollection of events having taken 10 prescription tablets and suggested the knife might have been planted on him, when it was shown to him.
Darren Winters apologised to the victims in his garda interview and said he was begging for help.
The court heard he had 34 previous convictions.
The Defence barrister argued his client - who had entered early guilty pleas, was out of control due to drugs, and had been looking for money out of desperation, due to his drug debts but is now attending counselling.
The sentences imposed were back dated to July last to allow for time spent in custody.