‘Desperate’ alcoholic jailed for ten months

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A man who ripped out the hot water tank from his flat caused thousands of pounds worth of damage to a flat below, a court has heard.

Derry Magistrates Court heard 25-year-old Paul Farren ripped out the hot water tank in order to pawn it and buy alcohol.

Farren, whose address was given on court papers as Bayview Terrace, pleaded guilty to theft and criminal damage on September 11, last year.

The charge relates to an incident in Cornshell Fields.

The court was told the injured party, a single mother with a small child, saw water flowing from a light in her flat.

She looked out the front window and noticed Farren attempting to get into a taxi with a hot water tank.

The tank would not fit and he had to wait for a larger taxi to arrive.

During police interview, Farren admitted ripping out the hot water tank from his rented flat.

Defence counsel Nicola Coulter told the court Farren was drunk and in desperation he pawned the hot water tank to buy more alcohol.

She said the 25-year-old has an addiction to alcohol and at the time of the offence was in a ‘cycle of drink and drugs he couldn’t see a way out of’.

Ms Coulter added her client has expressed remorse to the young mother and child who lived downstairs and ‘suffered upheaval as a result of his actions’.

District Judge Barney McElholm jailed Farren for ten months.

He said Farren ‘through his desperation to get money for alcohol’ made a young woman and her child homeless and ‘destroyed practically every possession they had’.

The judge added the damage ran into thousands of pounds and there was ‘no prospect of this man paying adequate compensation’.