An Abbeyleix man who disturbed and frightened sleeping children when he broke into their Durrow home and stole their Christmas presents has been told he should be going to prison for 12 months.
Joseph Murphy (23), Tullyroe, Abbeyleix, broke into a house at the Derry Road, Durrow, on December 31 last, and went into a bedroom where a 13-year-old and a five-year-old were sleeping.
The children were disturbed by the intruder, who shone a light at the 13-year-old. The accused took an Xbox, games and a laptop from the room, then he made his way to another room where two more children were sleeping and stole a phone and a Playstation controller.
Murphy also stole a number of unwrapped Christmas presents.
In total, goods worth €1,200 were taken. Murphy then went into the neighbouring property and stole a phone worth €180 from a parked car.
The case first came before Portlaoise District Court in February, where Murphy paid €820 compensation. Judge Catherine Staines said the offence merited a custodial sentence of 12 months, but she adjourned the case for a victim impact report.
When the case returned to court last week, Judge Staines described it as a very serious matter which had clearly been a traumatic experience for the victim.
In a victim impact statement, the mother of the household said that without having learnt that the culprit was amenable the nightmare would not have ended.
She also expressed her hope that the accused could move on from the incident, which Judge Staines said was very magnanimous of her.
Judge Staines that she should be imposing a 12-month sentence, but this incident seemed to be an aberration for Murphy.
She said that the problem clearly was that the accused had started taking cannabis and spent too much money on it, allowing it to affect his life.
The judge directed the accused to complete the Athy Alternative Project for his possible drug problem and adjourned the case to November 16 for an up to date report on him.
She also warned the accused that she hadn’t yet made her mind up as to how to deal with the matter.