A man was sentenced to three years in jail this week for scamming someone out of €1,350 to buy a quad bike after several years where he was wanted on a bench warrant.
Patrick McDonagh (33), with an address at Lakeview, Cavan town pleaded guilty to a single count of theft by deception over the fake sale.
The offence occurred on March 11 of 2014, when McDonagh approached a man at a Texaco filling station and offered to sell him a quad bike.
Garda Patrick Kelly told the Circuit Court that this man contacted a friend, the victim in this case, who agreed to buy the quad.
After handing over €1,350 at the Business Park off the N17 outside of Tuam at approximately 5pm that evening, they arranged to collect the quad later that evening, but McDonagh failed to show up at two separate locations.
The victim contacted gardaí immediately and gave them McDonagh’s phone number and car description.
Though he had used a fake name, McDonagh was quickly identified as the suspect in this case.
It turned out that he had been detained for speeding that same evening on the way into Tuam, and gardaí were aware that he was due before Cavan District Court in May of 2014.
The victim picked McDonagh out there, and he was arrested by gardaí and interviewed at Cavan Garda Station, where he made no admission Garda Kelly said.
The other witness in this case, the person first approached by McDonagh at the filling station, also picked him out of an informal photo lineup.
The Director of Public Prosecutions directed that the case be dealt with at the District Court level on a guilty plea only, which he declined. The book of evidence for a trial by indictment was served in April of 2015.
However, after failing to appear at later hearings, a bench warrant was issued for his arrest from Galway District Court, and later from the Circuit Court also.
This warrant was executed in Castlebar in March of last year, when McDonagh turned himself in, and he later pleaded guilty to a single count of theft by deception.
The money in the theft was never recovered, and the victim remains out of pocket. The victim declined to make a victim impact statement for the court.
At the sentencing hearing this week, the defence admitted that this was an “utterly dishonest” offence, but said that McDonagh had severe drug difficulties at the time.
During the time he was wanted on a bench warrant McDonagh drifted around Northern Ireland, where he spent several months in prison, and Wales.
He returned to Ireland out of a desire to put this behind him, and has been trying to get clean the defence said.
Judge McCabe said that case was aggravated by the premeditation in the offence, and the manner in which McDonagh chose to deal with it.
The judge imposed a three year prison sentence, and said there were no grounds to suspend any part of the sentence.