Judge says Donegal man ‘went out in a blaze of glory’

A judge said today that a young man deliberately “went out in a blaze of glory” with a series of church robberies because he knew was going to jail for earlier crime.

Ballyshannon District Court was told that Nathan Coughlan was already serving a 12 month sentence for attacking and robbing a widow shortly after her husband died.

He received an additional 19 months today for his additional crimes.

They included mainly a series of robberies from church poor boxes stretching from Clare to Donegal. There were also two thefts from hotels in Sligo and Bundoran.

He was also banned from driving for 10 years because he motored without insurance. The 33 offences dated from May 2016 to November 2017.

Judge Kevin Kilrane said 21-year-old Coughlan, knowing he was going to prison, decided to go on a rampage of larceny and burglary.

“He decided he might as well go out in a blaze of glory and he went on a binge of stealing”, Judge Kilrane said. “I can only imagine that was his motivation.”

The judge said he had given Coughlan every chance during earlier court appearances when he pleaded he had a child to support and he had a background of difficulties and it wouldn’t happen again.

Coughlan was already in jail because the 12 months for the March, 2016, attack on widow Kathleen Granaghan was imposed at the higher Circuit Court in Letterkenny last week.

The new offences included thefts ranging from €10 to €150 from charity boxes and criminal damage to property in Catholic churches in Newmarket-on-Fergus, Sixmilebridge and Quin, Co. Clare, Tubbercurry, Ballisodare and Collooney, Co. Sligo, Manorhamilton and Kinlough, Co. Leitrim, and Bundoran, Letterbarrow, Newtowncunningham and Castlefin, Co. Donegal.

He pleaded guilty to all the offences and a charge of obstructing gardai and driving without insurance.

Defence solicitor Gerry McGovern said his client, who had an address at Armada Cottages, Bundoran, wanted to change his life and had all matters brought before the court.

The solicitor added that Coughlan was now already behind bars and had a lot of time to think about it while he is incarcerated.