A man who attacked a woman’s car with a hatchet while she sat in it terrified claimed it was a case of mistaken identity.
Joe Craig appeared at Letterkenny District Court in Co Donegal charged with causing more than €2,300 worth of criminal damage to the white BMW car in Letterkenny on April 19th last.
The court heard how Craig, aged 38, carried out the attacked after being provoked by another man who had invited him to sort out a matter outside St Eunan’s Cathedral in Letterkenny.
The other man had called to Mr Craig’s home following a dispute over a football game.
The accused told the man to go away but he then began to mock Mr Craig’s sister who had died tragically.
The other man invited Craig to come down to the town and sort the matter out.
Craig, aged 47, from Falcarragh, said he foolishly accepted the invite in the heat of the moment.
When he went down, a verbal argument began and the man claimed his wife was sitting in his car nearby at Castle Street.
Craig then proceeded to attack the car with an axe causing €2,309 after smashing a headlight and causing other damage.
He soon realised it was not his rival’s car and sat on a nearby bench until Gardai arrived and he was arrested.
Mr Craig’s solicitor, Mr Kieran Dillon, said his client had no previous convictions and that he was very apologetic for what had happened.
He had also taken to Facebook to apologise for what he had done.
Mr Dillon said “He was in a bad place because of the loss of his sister. The other party was aware of this and he made these remarks.
“This has festered and then it just exploded. He was very apologetic when he realised he had wronged this woman.
“He accepted his error and he waited for the Gardai to come and he was very forthright with them.”
Mr Dillon said his client was a man of limited means and was currently unemployed but planned to take out a credit union loan to pay the injured party back in full.
Judge Paul Kelly said “This is what happens when you take the law into your own hands.”
He adjourned the case until July 9th to see what progress had been made with regard to compensation to the woman for the damage to her car.