Jail for Donegal man who verbally abused elderly nun

June 8, 2020

WARNING: Graphic content contained. 

A DONEGAL man who verbally abused an elderly nun has been sentenced to three months in prison.

Darius McAteer (20) was before Letterkenny District Court on charges relating to the offence on April 15 last and also on a burglary charge from a separate incident in Raphoe on May 10.

The court heard that the nun left her accommodation at 7.45pm after saying the Rosary on April 15 to go for a walk in Letterkenny.

At College Road, she met a man dressed in sports gear who shouted at her: ‘Do you suck penis’.

The nun was left frightened and shaken by the incident. She reported the matter to Gardaí who were able to identify McAteer as the suspect.

McAteer, who has an address at Admiran Park in Stranorlar, is currently in custody at Castlerea Prison and has ‘numerous’ previous convictions for a threat to kill and public order offences.

McAteer also appeared on charges relating to a burglary at Townspark in Raphoe on May 10, 2020 at approximately 11.40pm.

The occupant of a house heard someone at the back of the property. Upon arrival, the householder found that the cellar door had been forced upon.

He found McAteer in possession of a yard brush and when confronted McAteer made off on foot.

A short time later, McAteer was located and arrested by Gardaí on suspicion of burglary. A bag containing gloves and documentation belonging to McAteer was located at the scene of the crime.

A Garda patrol van was deployed to assist in McAteer’s arrest. Gardaí deployed pepper spray on McAteer who, the court heard, spat ‘on a number of occasions’ at officers.

“He became aggressive in the back of the patrol car and began to head-butt the rear window, he lay down in the back and began to kick the window and door,” Sergeant Dalton said.

When interviewed, McAteer said he could not remember committing the crime due to his high level of intoxication.

Solicitor for McAteer, Mr Frank Dorrian, said his client had a ‘chronic addiction’ and ‘had a total lack of insight as to the consequences of his actions.’

Mr Dorrian said: “This was a completely pointless crime in that he removed only a yard brush and left all of his artefacts and identification.

“He was living a fairly rudderless existence at the time and took a number of tables and a quantity of vodka. This was a completely aimless venture.

“There was no explanation for his remark to the nun and he extends his apology for that. She is entitled to expect better. He cannot unsay what he said, but he can apologise for it.”

Judge Paul Kelly said McAteer was ‘completely out of control when it comes to taking alcohol and substances’.

Judge Kelly said: “What happens then is that he goes on these sprees. The last two times he was before me, I dealt with 19 and 17 public order offences respectively.”

Judge Kelly sentenced McAteer to three months imprisonment in respect of each charge and backdated the sentence to May 11, when McAteer entered custody.

McAteer is also due before the court on two assault charges . Those matters will be heard at the October 12 sitting of Letterkenny District Court.