Cookstown man ‘looking for pub’ kicked parked car leaving dent

A County Tyrone man who kicked the off side panel of a car, causing more than £200 damage, was ordered to carry out 100 hours of community service when he appeared at Magherafelt Magistrates Court.

Stephen James Steele (30), of Forthill Drive, Cookstown, was also placed on probation for 18 months on charges of causing criminal damage and disorderly behaviour.

District Judge Oonagh Mullan remarked that according to the pre-sentence report Steele was now showing responsibility and she gave him credit for this.

Ms Mullan also ordered the defendant to pay compensation totalling £220 to the injured party.

A prosecuting lawyer told the court that in the early hours of November 6 last year, police were tasked to deal with two males who were reported to be “lashing out” at cars as they walked along the Moneymore Road in Magherafelt.

He said police spoke to the males, who appeared intoxicated, and they said they were coming from a party and were looking for a pub that was open.

The barrister said a car owner approached the police at Westland Road and identified Steele as the male who ran towards his car “shouting and swearing” before kicking the off side front panel leaving a dent.

A defence barrister said Steele appeared in court with the compensation which he described as “a significant amount” given that his client is on benefits.

He pointed out that alcohol appeared to have played a role in defendant’s previous offending and he was taking steps address the problem.

Pleading for leniency the lawyer said the defendant has two children and was soon to be a father again.

“He recognises that he has a problem with alcohol and I can tell the court he has not had any alcohol in the last six months,” he stressed.

He explained that the defendant has taken up long distance running which he has found to have had a very positive impact on him.

“He fully accepts that this was a nasty offence and regrets his involvement,” the barrister added.