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Man smashed 28 TVs in bookies in rage over failed bet

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John Farrell pleaded guilty

John Farrell pleaded guilty

John Farrell pleaded guilty

A man who smashed 28 television screens in a bookmakers with a hammer after he was not given winnings he believed he was owed has been given a suspended sentence.

John Farrell (47), who caused €10,400 in damage, was "raging" and felt the bet he had put on had been placed on the wrong race.

Farrell, of Barnwell Drive, Ballymun, Dublin, pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to criminal damage at Boyle Sports, Ballymun Road on September 6, 2016.

Farrell has 25 previous convictions, the most recent - handling stolen property - in 2001.

Garda Keith Morris told Fiona McGowan BL, prosecuting, that Farrell handed in a ticket for a treble bet looking to collect his winnings.

The staff member pointed out to him that the first horse in the first race had not won, so it was not a winning ticket.

After the woman scanned the ticket again and explained it was not a winner, Farrell muttered something before telling her "wait until you're locking up the door on your own, I will be there", before he left.

Farrell returned later and gave the ticket to a different staff member and was again told the ticket was not a winner.

"If you are not going to pay me, I will take it out on the screens," said Farrell, who took a hammer out of a bag and started smashing television screens.

Staff went into a back room and activated a panic alarm.

Farrell told gardai he had been having a difficult time.

He said he felt the bet he had put on had not been processed properly and was "raging".

Seoirse O Dunlaing BL, defending, said his client, who is receiving treatment for an aggressive form of cancer, had felt the money was owed to him.

Exceptional

He said Farrell made full admissions and has not come to gardai's attention again.

Mr O Dunlaing handed a letter from Fr Peter McVerry into court on his client's behalf.

Judge Melanie Greally said the case had "a few exceptional features".

She said he was understandably highly upset a mistake had been made, but his reaction was vastly out of proportion.

She said it was quite exceptional that Farrell had not transgressed since 2001.

She took into account Fr McVerry's letter, the guilty plea and co-operation and imposed a four-year suspended sentence.