Sunday 8 December 2019

Diesel thief turned to heroin to cope with loss of mum, brother

John McDonagh was jailed for six months for the theft. Photo: Damien Eagers/INM
John McDonagh was jailed for six months for the theft. Photo: Damien Eagers/INM

A thief caught stealing diesel was struggling with a heroin addiction at the time, a court has heard.

John McDonagh (25) had turned to drugs to cope after losing his little brother, who was killed in a car driven by his father. A year later, he lost his mother, who took her own life.

Judge Dermot Dempsey jailed McDonagh for six months.

The defendant, of Moyne Park, Moyne Road, Baldoyle, admitted before Swords District Court to stealing diesel, worth more than €300, from Maxol in Donabate on May 6.

Sergeant Terri Ferguson said McDonagh, wearing a tracksuit and baseball cap, drove on to the garage forecourt in a grey Vectra. There was white masking tape hiding the car registration number.

Sgt Ferguson said McDonagh started filling drums, which were in the boot, with diesel, valued at €308.


She said McDonagh was later identified as the culprit.

The court heard McDonagh had 108 previous convictions.

Defence lawyer Annette Kealy said McDonagh was just 12 when his four-year-old brother was killed in a car crash. His father was the driver and he was later jailed for six years.

Ms Kealy said the defendant's mother could not cope with the loss of a child and, a year later, she took her own life.

Aged 13, McDonagh was separated from his siblings and sent to live with an aunt.

He could not cope with this and started taking cannabis, later moving to tablets and cocaine and then heroin.

Ms Kealy said McDonagh was now stabilised on methadone and studying for his Junior Certificate.

He had reunited with his wife and children and was hopeful of staying out of trouble in the future.

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