Jail for attack on cars over farmland lost in divorce

By Neil Logan

A Northern Ireland man has been sentenced to 9 months in prison after using a digger to damage two cars in a dispute relating to farming land he lost as part of the divorce settlement awarded to his wife.

Patrick Gerard Donnelly, aged 59, lost a third of his family farm in a divorce settlement, and his ex-wife put the land up for sale. When a prospective buyer came to view the land with a surveyor Mr Donnelly used a digger to ram their two vehicles, smashing the roof on one and overturning the other. In an interview with the police he told them that he knew they were considering purchasing the farming land, and that he was determined to remove them from the property "come hell or high water".

Mr Donnelly's defence solicitor told the Fermanagh Court that his client suffered from depression and alcoholism, and had been drinking and taken medication at the time of the incident. He also told the court that his client would have no one to look after the farm and the animals if he were sent to prison. Nonetheless, the Deputy District Judge handed down a 9 month prison sentence, 18 month driving ban and ordered him to pay a total of £10,000 compensation to the two men whose cars were damaged.

If you require legal advice in respect of a criminal law matter contact Wilson Nesbitt solicitors in Belfast by calling 0800 840 0546.