A man “just snapped” and threw tables through windows of a busy ‘Subway’ outlet which was packed with lunchtime customers, including several schoolchildren.
Cearbhaill Carl Archibald (43), of Drumceatt Park, Limavady, was jailed for six months at Coleraine Magistrates Court on Monday after previously admitting causing criminal damage to two windows, a glass door and three tables.
The court heard it cost at least £2,500 to repair the damage and it was estimated another £1,000 was lost in takings because of the disruption at the Subway at Limavady’s Main Street.
The defendant appeared at the court via video link from Maghaberry Prison, where he has been on remand.
Before the case began, defence barrister Michael Smyth warned that Archibald sometimes displayed “erratic behaviour” but during the hearing there were no incidents.
Mr Smyth said a pre-sentence report had been ordered but efforts to engage with the defendant were unsuccessful.
A prosecutor said around 12.45pm on May 4 this year police received a report of damage to two windows and a pane in a door at Subway at Main Street, Limavady.
She said the premises were busy and several school-children were present.
No reference was made in court of anyone being injured.
The defendant was identified on CCTV and arrested.
Defence lawyer Mr Smyth said his client had a long-standing history of mental health issues including schizophrenia.
“Unfortunately, this man has fallen between the cracks, as it were, in mental health care in Limavady,” he said.
He added: “This man clearly needs help within the health services”.
Mr Smyth said the defendant had never provided an explanation as to why he “threw tables through the window”.
The barrister said there had been no disagreement with staff and he had not been refused service and added: “It seemed to be something just snapped in Mr Archibald”.
Jailing the defendant for six months, Deputy District Judge John Rea said: “This was an offence that was obviously frightening for those people present and financially very damaging for the owners of the business, I take a very serious view of this.”
The judge said it happened in “broad daylight” when schoolchildren were present.
The defendant came to court with a suspended sentence and the judge said Archibald had clearly committed similar offences before.