An 85-year-old man lying in bed at his home on Skehard Rd, Cork, was confronted by a man and woman who said: “We don’t want to hurt you — where is the money?”, a court has heard.
The pair were both addicted to crack cocaine and heroin and had habits that cost €500 per day between the two of them. Garda Carol Ann O’Callaghan said the elderly man was moved in his bed by the two intruders — Liam Hurley, 40, and Paula Canty, 29. But when the pensioner told them to leave, they did.
Judge Helen Boyle imposed sentences of three years, with the last year suspended, on both accused.
Judge Boyle said: “Aggravating factors in this case include the fact that two parties were working together and the victim was a vulnerable person lying in bed.
“But it was not a targeted burglary. They thought the house was unoccupied and there was no violent confrontation.
"And fortunately there was no actual loss to the homeowner. There was no intention to intentionally scare anyone.”
Gda O’Callaghan had stopped Hurley and Canty as part of routine policing an hour before the burglary and she noticed that both of them were under the influence of intoxicants at the time. Their details were then circulated as soon as gardaí received a call about the burglary.
Within an hour they were arrested at Anglesea Street in the investigation into a burglary where €4,300 had been taken from the house along with a number of USB keys. The cash was recovered, almost in its entirety, on the two accused when they were arrested for the burglary on April 7.
The money was seized by An Garda Síochána and held pending the outcome of the case, and will now be returned to the owner. Gda O’Callaghan said Canty had a crack cocaine and heroin addiction that cost her €200 a day at the time. Hurley had a similar addiction to the same two drugs, and he estimated that his addiction was costing him €300 a day.
Canty had 137 previous convictions, including one for burglary and 83 for theft. Hurley had 155 convictions, including four counts for burglary.
Paula McCarty, defence barrister for Hurley, said: “There is no question of any violence being used.
"And when they were asked to leave, they left immediately.”
Ms McCarthy added that he came forward to the circuit court on a signed plea of guilty. She said he had a very troubled background and an addiction that dated back to when he was 13 years old.
Educated through the Cope Foundation, he wrote a letter of apology to the victim.
Dermot Sheehan, barrister for Canty, said: “She was homeless at the time and was addicted to heroin and crack cocaine, both of which she had taken that day, as well as drinking strong alcohol. She fell into this virulent addiction.”
The 85-year-old man whose home was ransacked did not opt to make a victim impact statement.
Canty and Hurley, both of no fixed address, admitted trespassing to steal at the house at Skehard Rd, Cork, on April 7.