A father-of-three who threw a petrol bomb at a family home while its occupants were asleep has been jailed for five years.
Patrick Paget (33) was one of two men who threw petrol bombs at the house. One of the bombs ignited outside the property, while the other went into the house but did not ignite.
Dublin Circuit Criminal Court heard that gardaí have not established a motive for the incident on the night.
Paget of Aylwald Green, Finglas, pleaded guilty to criminal damage and endangerment at Ashlawn Park, Ballybrack, Co Dublin, on August 3, 2020.
He has 179 previous convictions, including convictions for criminal damage, theft, burglary, attempted robbery, drugs offences, public order and road traffic offences.
Detective Garda Padraig Nagle told Fiona McGowan BL, prosecuting, at around 2AM on the date in question, a married couple were asleep in their home when they awoke to the sound of a loud bang.
Det Gda Nagle said the couple went downstairs and saw flames. The wife had to jump over flames to get outside, while the husband stood on broken glass.
A neighbour later told gardaí that he saw two men throw something at the front door of the house and then leave the scene in a car. One of the petrol bombs ignited outside the property causing a small fire, while the other went into the house but did not ignite.
Gardaí found blood between two panels of glass in the front door of the house that had been broken during the incident. A DNA profile was extracted from this blood which was found to match Paget.
In interview with gardaí following his arrest, Paget admitted to driving the same make of car that the two men were observed getting into before they left the scene.
Det Gda Nagle agreed with Emmet Nolan BL, defending, that the flames were confined to outside the house as the petrol bomb that exploded did so outside the property. He agreed that while gardaí have established that two men were involved, only one has been apprehended.
The detective agreed with counsel that his client’s previous convictions suggest he has suffered from a “chronic” drug addiction. He agreed the accused has spent a significant period of his life in custody.
Det Gda Nagle said a motive has not been established for the incident on the night.
Mr Nolan said his client has no real explanation that will assist the court. He said his client instructs he was in the “full blown grip” of his addiction at the time and it was against that background he became involved.
Counsel said his client had a chronic addiction to heroin and polysubstances, but seemed to have conquered that addiction following a period in drug treatment in 2017, only to later relapse into drug taking.
Mr Nolan said his client has three children. He said his client wished to express through his legal team his remorse and his apology “for what can only be described as an appalling act”.
Judge Melanie Greally said the intent of Paget and his co-accused was either to cause significant damage to the house, to the occupants or both.
Judge Greally said the petrol bombs could have led to substantial damage or to the loss of life or the serious injury of the occupants themselves.
She said this was a premeditated act which involved the preparation of the petrol bombs and the use of a getaway vehicle. She said this was “obviously a very frightening incident”.
Judge Greally sentenced Paget to six years imprisonment, but suspended the final one year of the sentence on strict conditions.