A businessman who caused more than €66,000 of damage to a hotel while naked said he wants to be a role model for his son after he puts his court case behind him.
Marketing manager Eamon Devlin damaged four bedrooms in a Co Donegal Hotel and blamed a cocktail of medication and drink for his actions.
Letterkenny Circuit Court heard how the 41-year-old had wrecked his own room and then arrived in the lobby of the Ballyliffin Lodge Hotel to tell staff that his room had been ransacked by “gypsies.”
His lawyers had pleaded not guilty on his behalf claiming his consumption of the tablets with alcohol had led to a case of “involuntary intoxication.”
A two-day trial heard how Devlin booked into the hotel with his three-year-old son as he was going through a divorce and wanted to spend time with his child.
The father and son had enjoyed a day out playing pitch and putt at Ballyliffin Golf Club before having a swim and some bar food at the hotel.
He had a pint of Carlsberg, an Irish coffee and took a bottle of wine to his room.
At 11.30pm Mr Devlin ordered another bottle of wine be brought to his room.
However, in the early hours of the morning, around 5am, Mr Devlin arrived in the reception of the hotel naked carrying his son who was in his pyjamas.
He asked staff to come to his room, number 214, claiming there was ‘gypsies’ in his room and he needed to get them out.
Night porter, Seamus Henry went to the room but found nothing wrong and that there was nobody else in his room.
Around 6am, the night porter received a phonecall from room 215 complaining of shouting in the accused man’s rooms which had been going on for half an hour.
Accompanied by another staff member, Mr Henry went upstairs and noticed the corridor was flooded.
They used the master key to gain entry to room 214 but had to force the door as it was damaged.
Mr Henry said the room was under three inches of water and that sinks had been pulled off the bathroom wall and there was also broken glass everywhere.
The court was told that the water later spread to three other rooms and at one stage it appeared that the ceiling of one room almost collapsed.
Hotel manager Colm O’Kane said he was telephoned at home to tell him what had happened and he arrived a short time later.
He said that Devlin asked him “Did you see them, did you see them? The gypsies? Youse are doing a great job.”
Devlin, a marketing manager with a software company in Northern Ireland, was arrested and interviewed at Buncrana Garda station.
He blamed a combination of stress, medication and alcohol for his behaviour on the night and offered to pay compensation for the damage saying he was deeply ashamed of what had happened.
He told Gardai “I’m a big boy. If that phonecall to room service hadn’t been made I wouldn’t be here.”
He said he recalls going into the bathroom but the room went dark and he could not find a way out and believed the gypsies were in the room taking his son.
He also said he was taking tablets for an ear infection which he bought in a pharmacy in Northern Ireland and these were called Day and Night Nurse.
However, a jury found Mr Devlin guilty.
At Letterkenny Circuit Court today he apologised to the staff of the hotel and the Gardai.
The court heard that at the time of the incident, Devlin’s ex-wife had told him that she was planning to relocate to America with her son and he was under severe stress.
Devlin said he was now trying to get his life back together and can pay €250 a month back to the hotel for the damage of more than €66,000.
He said “I apologise to the court for what happened. I am deeply sorry and ashamed. It was totally out of character and it was meant to be a fun weekend with my son. It was irrational behaviour and it should not have happened.
“The last five years have been a nightmare for me personally. I want to be a role model for my son. This is a black mark for me. I have to live with this but I want to rebuild my life,” he said.
Judge John Aylmer adjourned the case until Friday for sentence.