Teenage girl (18) jailed for a year for her role in petrol bomb attack

Judge says young woman had been given a chance but failed to take it

A teenager, who smashed a window so a companion could throw a petrol bomb into a house because they believed the occupants had informed on them to the gardaí, has been jailed for a year.

Martyna Mocna (18) from the Crescent, Cloyne, Co Cork, pleaded guilty at Cork Circuit Criminal Court to causing criminal damage to the house on Chapel Street in Cloyne on March 25th 2020.

Det Garda Kieran Crowley of Midleton Garda Station told the court how Mocna was with an older male companion on the night in question when they approached the house at about 11pm.

Mocna smashed a window in the front door of the house with a hammer and the man then threw in a petrol bomb.

The two were captured on CCTV running from the scene and hiding behind a van and watching to see whether the petrol bomb ignited and caused any major damage to the house, he said.

Det Garda Crowley said the fire was spotted by a passerby returning home from a local chip shop and he managed to extinguish the blaze before it caused any significant damage to the property.

Warned

The family, who lived at the house, had left it after they were warned by gardaí that the house could be petrol bombed so the property was vacant and unoccupied at the time of the attack, Det Garda Crowley said.

He said Mocna was arrested and questioned about the incident and while she admitted to her part in the attack, she smiled throughout the interview and showed no remorse.

She and her companion had a grievance with the family who lived in the house, accusing some of the occupants who lived there of providing information to gardaí and describing them as “rats”.

Cross-examined by Mocna’s barrister, Jeff Hitchmough BL, Det Garda Crowley said Mocna’s companion had just come out of prison that day and she was a number of years younger than him.

But he said that she had come to Garda attention since she first appeared before the court on the criminal damage charge last December when the matter was adjourned to see how she behaved.

“She is not behaving herself – she has a complicated family background but she is not doing the best for herself,” said Det Garda Crowley, who accepted Mocna helped her Polish mother with translation.

Mr Hitchmough stressed that Mocna needed to be differentiated from her companion, who made and lit the petrol bomb, while it should also be noted that nobody was injured in the attack.

And he pointed out that her companion had received a four year sentence with one year suspended and he submitted that his client’s level of involvement in the attack was much less significant.

One more chance

Mr Hitchmough pleaded for leniency, asking Judge Seán Ó Donnabháin to give his client one more chance but Judge Ó Donnabháin said she had got her chance last December and failed to take it.

“It was essential that she presented here today with a clean bill of health – whether or not she got therapy – if she had done that and presented a clean bill of health, I would have done right by her.

“But I can’t ignore the fact that her behaviour has deteriorated - she is breaking out and I am not going to give her any more credit or give her any more allowance,” said the judge.

Judge Ó Donnabháin sentenced Mocna to two years in jail but suspended the final year to give her a structure to help her rehabilitate when she is released from prison after serving her 12 months.

Mocna pleaded for one more chance, saying she wanted help for a drug addiction but the judge said he had finalised matters and warned he would lift the 12 months suspension and give her two years in jail if she continued to protest.

Barry Roche

Barry Roche

Barry Roche is Southern Correspondent of The Irish Times