A 34-year-old Cork man was jailed for smashing headstones at Kilcully graveyard in Cork following a lengthy investigation.
Garda Jamie O’Riordan arrested William O’Driscoll of no fixed address and charged him with causing criminal damage to three headstones on dates between late November 2019 and early January of this year.
While O’Driscoll was charged with causing criminal damage to three family headstones at St Catherine’s cemetery in Kilcully, County Cork, up to 20 headstones were damaged in the course of several months.
Defence solicitor Donal Daly said O’Driscoll was pleading guilty to the three charges and apologising unreservedly for the distress caused to the families of those with loved ones in the affected plots.
Mr Daly stressed the background serious mental health issues in William O’Driscoll’s background.
Garda O’Riordan agreed with this and confirmed that the accused had severe psychiatric issues.
The defendant apologised, said he could not explain his actions but said it should not have happened and that he never meant to cause any distress or hurt for any family.
The accused was committed to a psychiatric hospital for eight days following these offences.
Garda O’Riordan also stated that at a time when one of the parties affected by the damage to the headstones became aware of O’Driscoll’s involvement, the defendant was the victim of a serious assault.
The investigating garda said that without the co-operation of the accused it would have been difficult to prosecute him.
Judge Olann Kelleher was told that the man had a severe mental breakdown at the time of these offences. O’Driscoll was walking from Cork city to visit a family grave in the cemetery on many occasions around this time, often in cold and very wet weather.
The nature of the damage was that statues or figures attached to headstones were knocked off and the headstones themselves were knocked over in some instances.
Judge Kelleher imposed a four-month prison sentence on O’Driscoll at Cork District Court. It will run concurrently with another sentence being served by the accused.
O’Driscoll pleaded guilty at his first court appearance in this case to the three charges of intentionally or recklessly causing criminal damage to headstones between November 30, 2019 and January 3 of this year.