Judge praises women who challenged handbag thief

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Judge Catherine Staines has praised the bravery of a Clonaslee mother and daughter who challenged a thief on their property, in the case of a Dublin man with 57 previous convictions who was last week sentenced to eight months in prison.

Felix Moorehouse, formerly of 5 St Aubyns Court, Shankill, Dublin, but now residing in Newbridge, was charged with theft and entering a building with intent to commit a crime, at Tinnahinch, Rosenallis, Clonaslee, on October 3 last year; and driving while disqualified, without insurance or a driving licence, at Derrybeg, Killeigh, Tullamore, on the same date.

Garda Ciaran McCormack gave evidence that Ms Ann Egan noticed a silver car at the front of her house in Clonaslee at 12.40pm on October 3, and she saw Moorehouse enter her front yard. Moorehouse got down on his hands and knees and opened the unlocked car belonging to Ms Egan’s daughter, which was parked in the driveway. He removed two handbags containing approximately €262, and when Ms Egan accosted him he made good his escape. Ms Egan’s daughter followed him in her car and during the chase she saw a handbag being thrown out of the window.

Garda McCormack said he subsequently came across the silver car in Derrybeg and arrested Moorehouse, who admitted to having no insurance. The stolen €262 was later recovered at the garda station.

Five of Moorehouse’s 57 previous convictions are for theft.

Defence barrister said that Moorehouse had been incarcerated in 2008 and sustained a serious injury to his left hand, for which he was awaiting a six-figure pay-out from the State. Moorehouse turned to heroin, but is now off even methadone and only takes prescription drugs.

“His record is bad,” admitted defence.

Judge Staines noted that Moorehouse was recently convicted of driving while disqualified and was now again up on a charge of driving without insurance.

“On top of that he committed a trespass,” said the judge. “The two ladies were extremely brave to confront the people who were stealing from them.”

Judge Staines imposed an eight-month prison sentence, with recognisance fixed in the event of an appeal. Moorehouse was also disqualified from driving for 25 years.


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