A Fermoy woman woke in the middle of the night to see a man crawling around on the floor of her bedroom and now the culprit has been jailed for two years.
Judge Seán Ó Donnabháin made the two-year sentence consecutive to one year already being served by Thomas O’Neill, at Cork Circuit Criminal Court.
Garda Brian McCabe said the woman screamed and got out of bed but could not see where the intruder had gone. She noticed that the front door of the house was open.
The woman, and her 84-year-old father who then woke up in his room, both checked their bedrooms and discovered that certain property had been stolen Thomas O’Neill, 29, of no fixed address and originally from Tipperary, was later identified as the culprit and he appeared at Cork Circuit Criminal Court by video link for sentencing.
Garda McCabe said that by O’Neill’s own admission he was a drug addict and admitted to gardaí he smoked heroin on a regular basis.
He has 23 previous convictions including possession of stolen property, theft, and assault causing serious harm.
Niamh Ó Donnabháin defence barrister said that as soon as the woman woke and let out a scream O’Neill left the house and there was no interaction or violence. Ms Ó Donnabháin also referred to the fact that the father in the house said in a statement that the front door of the house had not been locked.
“This was an opportunist burglary,” she suggested and Garda McCabe agreed.
The defence barrister said no effort at concealment of stolen property had been made as some of the stolen property was found in wheelie bins and others were found in his house.
Garda McCabe said in respect of that claim that Sergeant Roger Lyons had observed the accused man putting items into bins outside his home. The Sergeant later checked the bins and found property that had been stolen during the burglary and from unlocked cars in the same area.
A lot of stolen property was recovered in this investigation but the property that was never recovered included €100 belonging to the elderly man at his home in Fermoy, that man’s iPad and Communion jewellery that was stolen from a car.
Judge Seán Ó Donnabháin said for the woman and her elderly father whose home was burgled by O’Neill, “The fact that the house was entered remains an insult if not an outrage. He has left them with that. They will always know their home has been entered in the dead of night.
“He may be on the cusp of spending a long time in prison. He should be guiding himself to other pathways at 29 years of age put if he wants to spend a long time in jail who am I to stand in his way.”