Drunken intruder told startled woman he was in the right house

Drunken intruder told startled woman he was in the right house
The Courthouse on Anglesea Street

A 63-year-old woman woke to find a drunken intruder in her bedroom and when she told him he might have walked into the wrong house he raised his voice aggressively and said he was not in the wrong house.

Judge Brian O’Callaghan said it must have been frightening for the woman having the sanctity of her bedroom broken by Martin Hurley.

He jailed Hurley for four years with the last 14 months suspended at Cork Circuit Criminal Court.

Detective Garda John Gleeson outlined the background to what happened at 2.30am on September 30, 2018.

The 63-year-old woman was in bed at her home on Patrick’s Hill in Cork when she was woken by a man in her bedroom.

Initially, she thought it was her adult son but it was an intruder who was very drunk.

“The injured party said, ‘you must be in the wrong house’. The man said very loudly and very aggressively, ‘I am not in the wrong house’. She received a terrible fright,” Det. Garda Gleeson said.

On investigation it turned out that Martin Hurley had been in the house for nine minutes.

Half an hour afterwards, he was arrested for a separate incident in the city centre. He had a screwdriver which had been used to get into the house and he also had other items taken from the house.

The detective read a victim impact report in which the 63-year-old said: “It was a very frightening experience for me to be woken by a stranger in my bedroom, especially when he was so aggressive.”

Det Garda Gleeson said the accused had 11 previous burglary convictions and was only out of prison a relatively short time after serving three-and-a-half years for robbery.

The detective said the accused lived most of his life until recently at Farranferris Avenue and was known to gardaí as a career criminal with addiction.

Judge Brian O’Callaghan said in his sentencing: “At 2.30am he entered as a trespasser the private home of a 63-year-old lady and committed the offence of theft.

“He took at least four items, some of which were of considerable value.

“Not only did he enter the premises but he was aggressive by inference to such an extent that she was able to withdraw and lock herself into her bedroom. Thank goodness she was able to do so with a potentially violent intruder in her home.

“That lady’s victim impact statement clearly shows to this court that the said lady must indeed be a most impressive person.

“The court can understand totally the impact it had on her and no doubt continues to have on her. She was asleep in her bedroom in the sanctity of her home and you broke that sanctity.”

The judge accepted that defence barrister Paula McCarthy’s submission that the accused was remorseful but said the fact that it happened at night was an aggravating factor.

Ms McCarthy said some of the stolen property was recovered and handed back to the injured party.

Judge O’Callaghan accepted that but said he also had to note that Hurley was caught by gardaí with the property in his possession.

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