A Cork man who caused a 79-year-old widow “torment and torture” by ripping tiles off her roof at three o’clock in the morning appealed his jail sentence and said he was in a very dark place at the time.
Anthony Rutherford’s barrister, Nikki O’Sullivan, said the appellant wanted to have a psychiatric report to put before Cork Circuit Appeals Court but this was not yet available.
Ms O’Sullivan said: “It is acknowledged that it was a very distressing incident for the victim but he was in a very dark place at the time.”
Judge Helen Boyle said in the circumstances she would adjourn the appeal until October 11, with the accused remanded on continuing bail.
However, the judge said if defence did not have the psychiatric report by that date then they would have to rely on a doctor’s report and that one way or another the appeal would have to proceed.
At Cork District Court, 50-year-old Anthony Rutherford — previously of Comeragh Park, The Glen and Lus Na Meala, Banduff, Cork — was sentenced to eight months in prison on a charge that on October 17, 2021, he damaged €1,000 worth of roof tiles at a house at Fir Grove, Riverview Estate, Ballyvolane, Cork.
Rutherford gathered over €1,000 compensation for the householder.
Sergeant Pat Lyons said at the original case that after 3am on October 17, 2021, the 50-year-old spent 20 minutes on the roof.
Defence solicitor Frank Buttimer, said at the district court: “Strange as it may seem, people were pursuing him. Having run away, he climbed up on the roof to get away from them.
“When the gardaí arrived it would have been better for Mr Rutherford to go down but now he is worried about them and he is anxious to get away from the guards.
“He always said he was being pursued and that he took the tiles to protect himself from the people down below.”
Judge Olann Kelleher asked: “Can I just be clear — he is saying he was pursued and went up on the roof of this 79-year-old woman and he took tiles off to protect himself from the people pursuing him.”
Mr Buttimer confirmed this was what the defendant was saying.
Judge Kelleher said: “I have read the victim impact statement from this 79-year-old widow living in Riverview estate in Ballyvolane. At 3.10am, this man gets up on the roof and takes tiles off the roof. He might have been concerned for himself. He had absolutely no concern for the owner of the house.
“She says, ‘The memory of the noise that night will haunt my thoughts. I only sleep now in the safety of daylight. I now rely on my children more and more. I have an increased sense of dependency. I feel I have become a burden for them all’.
“This man has taken all that away from her. I do empathise and sympathise with how she feels at her age or any age.”
The judge noted Anthony Rutherford suffered from anxiety but also that he had previous convictions for causing criminal damage and burglary.