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Staff arrived at a Cork gym to find an intruder asleep

Staff at a gym in Cork arrived on duty at 5.30am to find an intruder asleep in their office.

Detective Garda Anne Flynn said gardaí were called to Club Vitae gym of the Clayton Hotel and when they woke the intruder he became aggressive with officers and pepper spray had to be used to subdue him.

That was back on December 5, 2018, and now at Cork Circuit Criminal Court the culprit has been jailed for two years.

Judge Seán Ó Donnabháin imposed a three-year sentence on Tony O’Connell, aged 34, who lives at hostel accommodation in Cork, and he suspended the last year of the sentence.

Det. Garda Flynn said the accused man had 168 previous convictions, of which 17 were for burglary.

The detective said that on examination of the CCTV at the hotel for the relevant time it was clear that O’Connell had gone into the locker room and opened two lockers. He had some protein bars while he was there.

After half an hour walking around the area he then went to the office, sat into a chair and fell asleep.

O’Connell claimed at an earlier bail hearing that he only went in to the building because it was freezing.

O’Connell testified at the time, “I have been looking for accommodation. I am living between St. Vincent’s and the Simon’s. I use the Simon’s when available.” 

He said, “This was a once-off. I could not get anyone (for hostel accommodation). It was freezing cold. I lay down on the couch.” 

He added that he might have eaten protein bars that were there.

He later pleaded guilty trespassing at Club Vitae, Clayton Hotel, Lapps Quay, Cork, on December 5 to commit theft of health bars, wet bag and flip-flops. 

Detective Garda Flynn arrested Tony O’Connell and charged him with the burglary.