Judge hands down eight-year jail term for possessing petrol bomb

A 22-year-old with 140 previous convictions has been sentenced to eight years after being stopped at a garda checkpoint with a petrol bomb.

The court heard that after being taken in custody Karl Harford received a text asking “is it done yet mate?”

Harford of Dolphin House, Rialto pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to possession of an explosive device at Park West Avenue, Ballyfermot on November 5, 2010.

Judge Margaret Heneghan imposed an eight year term with the final two years suspended. She rejected a defence application to take greater account of Harford’s young age and suspend more of the sentence

Defence counsel Pieter Le Vert BL said Harford was extremely intelligent and completed his Junior Cert in 2007.

He then started offending and has since accrued 140 previous convictions including drug dealing, assault and possession of a knife. The majority of his convictions are for road traffic offences.

Garda Alan Eustace told prosecuting counsel Roisin Lacey BL he was manning a garda checkpoint when a car sped towards them. It came to a sudden stop after passing through the checkpoint and Harford, who was in the passenger seat, became abusive towards gardaí.

They searched the car and found a plastic bag in Harford’s footwell. It contained an “Uncle Bens” jar filled with petrol.

There was a wick coming out of the top of the jar which connected to a pyrotechnic blasting charge designed to ignite the petrol.

Later tests showed it was a functioning bomb and the jellified petrol was capable of igniting and sticking to a surface where it would burn for around five minutes.

Harford, who was wearing gloves and had a lighter in his pocket, denied any knowledge of the bomb and claimed someone else must have put it there.

He said the text he received had nothing to do with the bomb.

Mr Le Vert said Harford has spent most of his recent years in prison and has been struggling with drink and drugs but has now largely put his behind him.

  • Click to stay connected with more stories like this
  • Sign up here to receive news by email. Once per day, no spam.

Most Read in Ireland