Man on attempted theft charge from woman in carpark refused bail at Naas District Court

Was questioned in the past in relation to murder

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Man on attempted theft charge from woman in carpark refused bail at Naas District Court

Bail hearing took place at Naas Courthouse.

A man who has been questioned in the past about a local murder was refused bail at Naas District Court after he was arrested on suspicion of involvement in an attempted theft over the weekend.

Stephen Penrose, 34, who is listed as having no fixed abode in Portarlington, faces charges of possession of an article (a screwdriver) with an intent to cause harm and attempted theft from a woman at the car park of Supervalu in Kilcock in the early hours of Sunday, May 14 last.

At Naas District Court this afternoon Gardai objected to Mr Penrose’s application for bail, citing their fears that he would abscond and avoid facing trial for these matters, that he would interfere with witnesses and that he would commit further offences.

In outlining their case to Judge Desmond Zaidan, Gardai revealed that Mr Penrose had been interviewed in relation to the murder of Philip Finnegan, whose body was found partially buried in woodland near Carbury last September.

Following his interview in relation to that matter, a file was sent to the DPP, although he has not been charged with anything.

Mr Penrose has been staying in a house in Portarlington in recent weeks.

Detective Sergeant Padraig Murphy from Celbridge Garda Station described this living arrangement as squatting, but Mr Penrose said it was the house of a friend of his.

Gardai allege that Mr Penrose got out of a car on the night in question and entered the passenger door of a car of a woman in the car park holding a sharpened screwdriver.

It is alleged that she was threatened and that he demanded money from her.

She exited the car and ran away, and he did likewise, it is alleged. It is further alleged that he was picked up by an accomplice driving the car he had arrived in.

It is also alleged that while in custody, Mr Penrose made various threats of violence against the Gardai, saying he “had nothing to lose, nothing to live for and didn’t care”.

“He said he would attack a specific Garda and harm that Garda’s wife and children,” Detective Sergeant Murphy explained.

He also told interviewing Gardai that he had a Glock semi-automatic gun.

The detective admitted to Judge Zaidan, “I believe he’s well capable of carrying out that threat.

“He claimed that when he was released, there ‘would be a bloodbath’.”

Barrister for Mr Penrose, Sarah Connolly, suggested that her client was willing to sign on twice daily in Portarlington and to observe a curfew, but the Detective indicated that he would not accept these assurances.

Chief Superintendant Gerard Roche also gave evidence supporting the Gardai’s objection to bail.

He said that in his opinion there was a “serious risk that Mr Penrose would commit further offences if released on bail”.

Mr Penrose appeared in court with two large wounds on his skull and his arm, and multiple stitches.

He claimed that these wounds were incurred as a result of being restrained by Gardai. He had become upset when, he claimed, he saw his partner who was being interviewed by Gardai, getting upset.

He claimed he saw a Garda place his hands on her.

Inspector Oliver Henry, questioning the defendant in the witness box, indicated that Gardai would have a different version of events.

Mr Penrose claimed that Gardai had a grievance against him and that he just wanted to get on with his life.

He said that he has three children in Ireland and that he wanted to sort out his relationship with them and build a life for himself.

Judge Desmond Zaidan said that he had considered carefully everything he had heard and was satisfied that the Gardai’s objections were sustained - and he refused bail.

He ordered that Mr Penrose receive medical attention for his injuries.