Gardaí concerned about man who smashed butcher’s windows

Judge Mary Devins is to decide today (Friday ) what to do with a man who used a hammer to smash the windows of a Ballina butcher shop in the small hours of March 23 last, causing almost €4,000 worth of damage.

John Cassidy, of 1, The Brook, Ballina, who pleaded guilty to one charge of criminal damage and one charge of possession of a knife, gave an undertaking in Ballina District Court on Tuesday to present himself voluntarily to the mental health services for assessment.

The case was adjourned until this morning, for Judge Devins to hear what progress has been made.

The judge heard Cassidy went to Heffernans Fine Foods on Market Road at 6.30 am on March 23 last.

He was seen on CCTV using a hammer to smash eight windows at the premises, causing €3,723 in damage.

When he was arrested and searched the following day, he was carrying two knives on his person.

Superintendent Gerry Donnelly said gardaí have serious concerns about Cassidy’s behaviour.

Outlining the history of the case, Supt Donnelly said Cassidy had become infatuated with a member of staff at Heffernans and had taken to bringing her gifts of jewellery.

He was asked by the owner to stop this behaviour and this was believed to have sparked the episode of criminal damage.

Supt Donnelly said the 49-year-old has been admitted on an involuntary basis to the adult mental health unit five times since the end of October and there has also been one voluntary admission.

Cassidy told Judge Devins he was on medication prescribed by his GP, however he alters the dosage himself as he sees fit to stop his mind from racing.

Solicitor for Cassidy, Mr Peter Flynn, said his client’s situation was ‘precarious’ but he did not believe a custodial sentence to be the solution.   

Judge Devins remanded Cassidy on bail so he could present himself on a voluntary basis to the mental health services and be assessed and she will decide on the next step today.

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