Four-year jail term for man who set fire to two cars

A five-year jail term with the last year suspended was imposed on a man who set fire to two cars outside a house in Glanmire but said the owners had nothing to fear from him as it was a mistake and he had burned the wrong vehicles.

Judge Seán Ó Donnabháin said yesterday, “Apparently the accused thinks the victims are to take solace from the fact that he thought he was burning someone else’s cars. It would not be of great reassurance to me.

“He is not in a position to make up the loss. It was a deliberate and conscious act and an accelerant was used.”

The judge imposed the jail term on Tim Saubolle, of The Green, Tir Cluain, Mill Road, Midleton, Co Cork, at Cork Circuit Criminal Court.

Garda Linda O’Leary investigated the arson and said that one car was burnt out on March 15, and that Saubolle returned two nights later and did the same to the second car. He even smashed a rear window and slashed the tyres of the second car. Petrol was used to commit the arsons. Both cars were written off. The loss to the family, who were very distressed by the arsons, was €9,000 for the first car and €2,000 for the second.

Saubolle did not give evidence yesterday but previously, in this case, he did apply unsuccessfully for bail and said, “I was not in the right head space.”

Saubolle said he would not burn any more cars and apologised for the anguish caused to the owners of the cars that he did set on fire.

Saubolle said, “I apologise for the damage and for the torture caused to that family.

“I do not want to be here on any other charge. All I am asking for is a chance to show I made a mistake and I want to rectify it and gather compensation.

“I had a traumatic experience. I was beaten by hammers and people trying to cut my fingers off,” he added.

Sinéad Behan, defending, said the accused had been assaulted and that it was as a response to that that he was setting fire to the two cars. However, she said he got the wrong people and that it was a case of mistaken identity in relation to the people he did target.

Saubolle said that in November and December 2017 he was using cocaine on a daily basis but was clear of it since the new year started.

Detective Sergeant Martin Canny said the same defendant also carried out the crime of demanding money with menaces from a family at Ballyphehane, Cork, in October 2017.

Saubolle went there and said people would come down from Dublin if €3,000 was not paid for a young man in the family who had a drugs debt. Similar demands were made through Facebook. And finally, Saubolle went back to the house and said the debt had increased to €6,000 and that if it was not paid there would be repercussions.

Ms Behan said the defendant was put under pressure for a debt of his own and she said he made no effort to conceal his identity when he made the demand for payment.

In a third book of evidence against the same defendant yesterday, he was also convicted of having €16,000 worth of cannabis at a house in Lagan Grove, Mayfield, for sale or supply around this time.

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