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Family felt violated by break-in at home

Man with 120 previous convictions sentenced to ten months in prison

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Family felt violated by break-in at home

A man with 120 previous convictions who claimed he had no recollection of breaking into a house in Portarlington has been sentenced to ten months in jail.

Judge Catherine Staines said she had to mark the seriousness of the offence committed by Edward McCabe (35), with an address at Clonbun, Trim, charged with criminal damage.

When the case first came before Portlaoise District Court in April last, Sgt JJ Kirby gave evidence that between September 20/21, 2015, a house was burgled at Kilbride, Portarlington.

The back window of the house was smashed and the alarm activated, but the intruder escaped.

The property was vacant at the time as the homeowner was on holidays. €600 damage was caused to the window.

Blood was found on the broken glass and after analysis it was discovered that the DNA matched the accused’s.

He was arrested and made admissions to the gardaí.

The accused had 120 previous convictions, including burglary, robbery and theft.

When she first heard the case, Judge Catherine Staines said she wanted to see a victim impact statement before sentencing. She noted that the offence happened two years ago when the accused had been a heroin addict, but he is clean of the drug now.

Saying she was not making any promises, Judge Staines adjourned the case for a victim impact statement and a probation report.

When the case returned to court last week, defence Ms Josephine Fitzpatrick said that the offence happened in 2015 and the accused was not arrested until 2018 after DNA evidence was gathered. During that time he served a sentence on other matters.

Remarked Judge Staines: “If he had made admissions it would have been dealt with before, but he waited for the DNA.”

The judge read a victim impact statement by the homeowner, in which they said that ever since the break-in the family has felt violated.

Each time they leave the house they feel anxious and concerned, as despite having an alarm they fell victim to someone entering their home.

They said that it was not the financial cost of getting the window fixed, so much as the emotional effect.

Saying she had to mark the seriousness of the offence, Judge Staines imposed ten months in prison, with recognisance fixed in the event of an appeal.