“Neanderthal” saved from jail by wedding date

A judge alluded to the Travelling community as “Neanderthal men” in a case of neighbour intimidation heard in the District Court this week (September 5 ).

“Threatening to burn someone out of their house when you live only four doors away, I suspect Mr Stokes comes from a certain ethnic background which would give him more form and add to the level of threat, given the type of behaviour that some of them engage in,” said Judge Seamus Hughes.

He was addressing Martin Stokes (21 ), formerly of Millbrook Drive, Old Tuam Road, Monksland, Athlone, but now with an address in Corkhill, Kinnegad, who was pleading guilty to threatening a neighbour.

“Neanderthal men lying in the long grass and living by the law of the jungle is how I’d describe them,” said the judge, before ordering Stokes pay €200 to his neighbour.

Earlier the judge heard how a neighbour had come home from work on May 25 to find Stokes pushing a child around Millbrook Drive in his child’s go-kart.

“He asked Stokes to stop as he felt he might be liable if there was an accident, but Stokes got very irrate, and called him useless and good for nothing,” said Inspector Nicholas Farrell.

“He put his face in [the victim’s] face, said he’d break his windows, and: ‘I’ll burn your house’,” continued the Inspector.

“I felt he was trying to intimidate me into a fight. He was very threatening. We know Mr Stokes and don’t have any respect for him,” said the neighbour in his evidence.

The court heard how Stokes had nine previous convictions for theft and trespass, and committed this offence whilst under the threat of his second suspended sentence.

“We’re not making any excuses. It shouldn’t have happened. This family could well have done without this,” said defending solicitor, Mr Michael McDarby.

“He got the leniency of the court twice, but the suspended sentences didn’t seem to work,” noted Judge Hughes.

Mr McDarby pleaded for an adjournment of sentence as his client was getting married in December.

“Leave it hanging over him, and maybe for once he may take responsibility for his behaviour,” said Mr McDarby.

“I will allow that event take place but I want €200 in compensation so the victim’s family can have a night out at your expense,” said the judge, before remanding Stokes on continuing bail until December 19 for a probation report.

“I’m warning you, Mr Stokes, don’t put a foot out of place between now and then, and make sure on the day of your wedding that none of your guests do either,” warned the judge.

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