At Ennis District Court, Judge Patrick Durcan jailed Paul Carr, aged 41, of Cluain Airne, Shannon, Co Clare, after describing as “appalling” his act of removing the wig from the head of his former girlfriend, 38, and making off with it during a dispute.
Solicitor for Mr Carr, Tara Godfrey, admitted in court “it was a particularly nasty offence in a particular context” but that Mr Carr apologises unreservedly and continues to hold his ex-girlfriend in the highest of regard.
Mr Carr and his ex-partner had split up in 2012, and Ms Godfrey said that her client had found it very difficult to come to terms with the break-up.
In the case, the woman purchased the wig in October of last year as she recovered from a serious illness.
In the case, Mr Carr — who wasn’t in court yesterday —pleaded guilty to the theft of the wig from his girlfriend’s home on January 17 of this year.
In evidence yesterday, Inspector Tom Kennedy said that a dispute arose between Mr Carr and his ex-girlfriend outside her home in Shannon, during which Mr Carr removed the wig from her head.
Insp Kennedy said: “Mr Carr wouldn’t give it back to her and he made off with the wig and it was subsequently recovered by gardaí when they went to Mr Carr to investigate this.
“The woman was ill at the time and was receiving treatment. She had that wig, as she said in her statement, in order to boost her confidence and to allow her to go to work and mingle with the community without any embarrassment.”
“So whilst it might appear at first look trivial, it certainly wasn’t trivial for the victim on the occasion.”
Insp Kennedy said that Mr Carr has convictions for two previous theft offences, two for being drunk in a public place and two for breach of the peace.
Insp Kennedy said that in October, Mr Carr was in court where he was fined €250 for one of the theft offences.
On behalf of her absent client, Ms Godfrey said that Mr Carr is a single man with no children.
“He was a shining star in the soccer world and played professional soccer and for smaller professional clubs in England and he played here.
“He coached young people. He was very good with them and he was very well respected,” she said.
“Unfortunately, this man left school at 15 and developed an incredible alcohol problem.”
Ms Godfrey said that Mr Carr could never bring himself to believe that the relationship with his ex-partner was over.”
She said that Mr Carr has no wife, no children, no partner and no career anymore. “It was all gone and he found himself in a very desperate place and apologises unreservedly to this lady.”
Ms Godfrey said that Mr Carr now accepts that the relationship is over.
She said that she is very surprised that Mr Carr was not in court as he had been very careful in giving her his instructions.
Judge Durcan said he has great sympathy with Mr Carr. However, he said “there are seriously aggravating factors that surround the commissioning of the offence.
“That a man should remove from a woman’s head a wig being worn in the context of her recovering from a serious illness is, in my view, an appalling act.”