A young man got into a spiral of violent crimes following the drowning of a friend who tried to rescue a horse from a river’s undercurrent.
Ruben Stillwell, aged 19, of 3A Old Youghal Rd, Cork, faced charges of stealing a €600 iPhone, violent disorder, and assault causing harm to the owner of the phone at both Beechwood Park and Ballinlough Rd, on December 10, 2016.
Inspector John Deasy said a group of teenagers outside O’Driscoll’s shop on Ballinlough Rd were effectively followed to the nearby Japanese Gardens by Stillwell and others and the assaults and theft of the phone occurred.
Judge John King said of Stillwell: “He is an angry little man, isn’t he?”
Pat Horan, defending, said Stillwell had pleaded guilty from the start and co-operated with the investigation.
Mr Horan said Stillwell’s father died when he was only 10 years old.
Then there was a further tragedy when was fishing with a friend. They had a small horse who got into the river and got into difficulties.
Mr Horan said Stillwell’s friend rescued the horse but got caught in the current and drowned.
He said it was 40 minutes before the emergency services arrived and that the experience was hard to deal with for Stillwell.
Mr Horan said there had been a sea-change in Stillwell’s behaviour but that he still had a long way to go.
The solicitor said the teenager had seen another friend jailed for this kind of aggressive behaviour and he did not want to spend his life in jail.
Judge King said that he wanted Stillwell to gather €600 compensation for the injured party whose phone was taken.
The judge said he would also put the matter back for assessment of his suitability for community service instead of going to jail.
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