Shooting victim Benny's brother is jailed
A MAN whose younger brother was shot dead last September was jailed yesterday for four months for his role in a violent incident outside a Balbriggan school.
Dad-of-four Clifford Whitehouse (39), of Knockbrack Downs, Drogheda, pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to violent disorder at Chapel Street in the town on November 11, 2013.
His brother Benny Whitehouse (35) was shot dead in front of his partner in Balbriggan almost five months ago and while there has been one arrest in that case, there have been no charges so far.
The incident in which Clifford was involved in happened at 9am when there were a large number of mothers and children, including infants in prams, on their way to school. Ten of these mothers later gave witness statements to gardai.
The court heard that during the incident a vehicle mounted the footpath and a number of people, including a woman who was due to give birth to her baby that day, had to jump out of the way.
Judge Martin Nolan said that vehicle had "made its escape in a very dangerous manner".
He sentenced Whitehouse to 16 months in prison and suspended the final 12 months of that sentence.
He added that Whitehouse had come to the school "armed and ready for trouble".
Garda John Farrelly told Lorcan Staines BL, prosecuting that Whitehouse's only role in the incident was to swipe at a van with the handle of an axe.
Whitehouse was later arrested and told gardai he had agreed to go to the school that morning to act as security because threats had been issued against members of his family.
He said a hand gesture was made at him and he "lost his cool" so he attacked the van.
Whitehouse accepted that it was a serious incident and said had he been walking with his children that day he would have been afraid.
Gda Farrelly confirmed that Whitehouse has 34 previous convictions for burglary, road traffic offences, theft, possession of a knife and robbery.
He agreed with Rebecca Smith BL, defending, that Whitehouse had "exhibited genuine fear" during his garda interview.
Gda Farrelly accepted that it had been Whitehouse's brother Benny who asked him to come along with him that day.
Ms Smith said her client had one child from his first marriage, another child from a second relationship and two children with his current partner.
She said Whitehouse was greatly affected by the death of his father in 2009 and also by the death of his second partner in 2007.