Convent burglar who attempted to evade arrest is jailed for two years

Francis Maguire (44) crashed into a car, in which a child was a passenger, while trying to evade arrest on November 17th, 2019
Convent burglar who attempted to evade arrest is jailed for two years

Fiona Ferguson

A Dublin burglar who crashed a stolen vehicle into another car and drove dangerously in his efforts to evade gardaí has been jailed for two years.

Francis Maguire (44) was later found to have items in the car that had been taken during a burglary at a convent earlier that night.

Garda Shane Devereux told Eoin Lawlor BL, prosecuting, at an earlier hearing that the occupants of the car Maguire crashed into, including a child seated in the back, were uninjured.

Maguire, of Ashleigh Hall, St Edmunds, Lucan, pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to using a car without the consent of its owner at Meile an Ri, Lucan and two counts of dangerous driving and driving without insurance in Lucan on November 17th, 2019.

He also pleaded guilty to burglary at Presentation Convent, New Road, Clondalkin between November 16th-17th, 2019. Maguire has 25 previous convictions.

Considerable danger

Judge Melanie Greally said Maguire had been encountered by gardaí in Lucan driving a vehicle taken from the home of its owner. She said the car was driven in an extremely dangerous manner which exposed motorists and pedestrians to considerable danger.

The judge said the car was observed driving through red lights and mounting the kerb before crashing into a stationary car in which a child was a passenger. She noted that thankfully none of the occupants were injured.

She said Maguire proceeded to drive into Foxdene Avenue where he was "zig-zagging" and driving in a manner entirely unsuited to an area where adults and children were likely to be in circulation.

She added the burglary at the convent had not been sophisticated, noting there had been forced entry and blood found at the scene. DNA and the items found in the car linked Maguire to the burglary.

Judge Greally took into account the fact that a family home had been entered to obtain the keys to the car and that it had been driven in a very dangerous manner for a sustained period of time.

She said Maguire was very fortunate not to be facing a more serious offence and that he had exposed a lot of people, including children, to very serious danger.

The judge noted that addiction was the driving force behind the offences and that while he had not made any express admissions Maguire was courteous and co-operative to the gardaí and the plea was a welcome one to the injured parties.

She noted he was engaging with local services but a probation report indicated he was at high risk of re-offending. She noted his remorse and acknowledgement of the serious and dangerous nature of his actions. Judge Greally took into account his efforts to address his addiction since 2016 and the fact that he managed to abstain from offending between 2016 and 2019.

Prison sentence

She said during the hearing that she fully accepted Maguire had not had many breaks in life but that the court had to have regard to the extremely serious offences.

Judge Greally imposed a two and a half years sentence and suspended the final six months on condition that he undergo 12 months probation supervision. She disqualified him from driving for five years.

Defence counsel, Brian Lindsay BL, told the court that Maguire had gone into care after being abandoned as a baby and had been let down by the State. He said at 15-years-old, Maguire was in a hostel with adults with significant drug issues where his own difficulties began.

He said prison had felt like a safe haven to Maguire at a very young age as it got him away from his difficulties. He said his client had been seeking a stable family life with his former partner, but it broke down and he was unable to deal with it.

He said his client is making significant strides and has acknowledged he will need residential treatment. He said he had come to many of his difficulties due to the area he was living in and people he surrounded himself with, but had moved and made changes.

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