Arsonist jailed for random act of recklessness

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judgetomodonnellby Andrew Carey

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A CONVICTED arsonist has been jailed for four years for what was described as a “random and reckless act of arson” after he was “pissed off” after he was refused entry to a private party at a Limerick soccer club.

Stephen Power (35), from The Path, Garryowen appeared before Judge Tom O’Donnell at Limerick Circuit Court after pleading guilty to charges of arson and causing criminal damage to a house in Fairview in August of last year.

Garda John Sheehan of Henry Street Garda station said that shortly after midnight on August 13 last year, he was called to a house fire on St Patrick’s Road from which a woman was rescued by the Limerick City Fire and Rescue service.

The court was told that when Stephen Power was refused entry to an 18th birthday party at the Fairview Soccer Club he became “irked and pissed off”. He left the club and walked to the nearest house on St Patrick’s Road where he jumped the back wall and broke into a Ford Fiesta car parked outside.

He set fire to the car, causing €5,000 damage but the blaze spread to the adjoining house trapping the woman inside as she could not find her key to the back door.

A further €9,500 damage was caused to the house.

Power was arrested a short time later after one of the soccer club security men identified him walking in the area.

The court was told that he had taken drink and Up-Johns earlier that night.

When he was interviewed the following morning, he made immediate admissions.

Judge O’Donnell was told that Power had a number of previous convictions including one for arson in 2012 when he was given a ten month prison sentence.

The victim of the attack now has a relative stay with her in the house every night and is moving out of the house in the near future.

Judge O’Donnell said that there was no explanation for Power’s actions on the night “save for him being ‘pissed off’, as he put it, for being refused entry to a private party.

“Arson is the most serious of offences known to the law and could have the most serious of consequences. This was clearly a frightening experience for the woman and it caused a great deal of stress and upset”, the judge added.

Stating that he treated this as a very serious case “given the random act of recklessness”, he imposed a four year jail sentence with the final 12 months suspended for four years. The sentence was backdated to when he was remanded in custody on the date of his arrest.