A hotel guest accused of damaging four hotel rooms ran down into the lobby naked and blaming “gypsies” for the attack.
Eamon Devlin is accused of causing thousands of euro of damage to Balyliffin Lodge Hotel in Co Donegal.
His legal team has blamed an over-the-counter tablet for sparking a psychosis which led to Mr Devlin’s “bizarre behaviour”.
Mr Devlin, aged 41, of 121 Drumintee Road, Kileavy, Newry, Co Down, appeared at Letterkenny Circuit Court charged with causing criminal damage to the hotel and has pleaded not guilty.
Mr Devlin had booked into the hotel with his three-year-old son as he was going through a divorce in September 2016 and wanted to spend time with his child.
The marketing manager and his 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, around 5am the next day, 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, No 214, claiming there were “gypsies” in his room and he needed to get them out. Night porter Seamus Henry went to the room but found nothing wrong and nobody else was 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 3in of water and sinks had been pulled off the bathroom wall and there was also broken glass everywhere.
The court was told 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 phoned at home and arrived a short time later.
He said Mr Devlin asked him “Did you see them, did you see them? The gypsies? Youse are doing a great job.”
Mr Devlin was arrested and interviewed at Buncrana Garda station. He blamed a combination of stress, medication and alcohol for his behaviour and offered to pay compensation for the damage saying he was deeply ashamed for what had happened.
He told gardaí: “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 gypsies were in the room taking his son. He also said he was taking tablets for an ear infection bought in a pharmacy in the North called Day and Night Nurse.
An expert witness for the defence, Michael Lyons, told the court the tablets taken by Mr Devlincontained an ingredient known as DXM. He claimed that on occasion, large quantities of DXM had shown to lead to psychosis.
However, Patricia McLaughlin, prosecuting, said the number of tablets containing DXM were nowhere near that given in the examples outlined by Mr Lyons.
Judge John Aylmer adjourned the case until today when he will charge the jury.
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