Woman jailed for damaging car as she threw a ‘tantrum’

The courthouse at Bishop Street, Derry.
The courthouse at Bishop Street, Derry.

A mother of five who threw a ‘tantrum’ after her ex-partner did collect their children set fire to a bag of clothes and caused damage to a car and a fence.

Florence Amanda Cullen, of Circular Road, pleaded guilty to arson, criminal damage and attempted criminal damage.

The 36-year-old also admitted assaulting and resisting police on June 18.

Derry Magistrate’s Court heard police were called to Lislane Drive after Cullen caused damaged to an Audi vehicle. She hit and scraped the car.

A short time later she set fire to a bag of clothes, threw it over the car and it landed near a fence.

The fence caught fire at this stage.

Before leaving the area, Cullen kickec the bag of clothes towards the car a second time.

The court heard the car was damaged by scorch marks and the wheel arch had melted as a result.

It was revealed the car was owned by Cullen’s ex-partner’s nephew.

Police went to Cullen’s home and she resisted arrest.

The 32-year-old also made comments of a homophobic nature towards a police officer.

She was led to a police vehicle and kicked an officer, striking him on the right knee.

During police interview, Cullen said she had a ‘fit of anger’ because her ex-partner did not collect their children as arranged.

She made full admissions to the incident and said she was willing to pay compensation.

Defence counsel Nicola Coulter told the court this was a ‘quite shocking series of events which were caused by a fit of temper’.

The barrister added that the 36-year-old had recently split up from her partner and she was angry that he did not collect the children as agreed.

She said Cullen accepts she has a ‘short fuse’ and regrets the comments she made to police at the time.

Ms Coulter also told the court the defendant is back ‘on good terms’ with her ex-partner.

The barrister said her client is willing to pay for the damage but has not saved any compensation so far.

Jailing Cullen for eight months, District Judge Barney McElholm said this was an ‘absolutely appalling, deplorable incident’.

He said: “The main victim of this was her ex-partner’s nephew. He had his car attacked because it happened to be there. This is indicative of the sort of tantrums this defendant throws.

“She doesn’t do a good job of learning. She was given a suspended sentence in 2014 and she was well warned that was her very last chance. Then we have this totally appalling incident and she doesn’t bother bringing one penny piece of compensation to the court.”

The judge also ordered Cullen to pay a £25 offender levy.