A man tried to set his neighbours’ home on fire and tried to attack them with a chainsaw after they called him names.

Letterkenny Court.

Letterkenny Court.

Luke Kelly, of Ballykeeran, Kilmacrennan, appeared before Letterkenny Circuit Court yesterday.

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

Garda Siobhan Campbell told the court that they received a 999 call to the Lafferty home after an incident involving Kelly, 26.

It was alleged that Kelly punched Matthew Lafferty in the jaw knocking him over before pouring petrol over the Lafferty home and then chasing members of the family with a chainsaw and also a pitchfork.

Garda Campbell said Kelly claimed it was Matthew Lafferty who had the chainsaw and he 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 that the Lafferty family had since moved out of the area and that Kelly had not ben in trouble since.

Barrister Peter Nolan said his client was a 26 year old father of one and 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 offenses 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.

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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