17 Aug 2022

Gold watch worth €3k stolen from Laois home

36-year-old man given jail for two burglaries

Court - Smashed garda patrol car outside Portlaoise courthouse

Man was sentenced to six months at Portlaoise District Court

A 36-year-old man who broke into a house in Abbeyleix and stole a gold watch costing €3,000, and on a separate date rammed a garda car trying to flee the scene of an attempted break-in at a business premises, has been sentenced to six months in jail.

At this week’s sitting of Portlaoise District Court, Gerard O’Leary (36), with addresses listed at Kilbride and Tullow, Carlow, was charged with burglary, at a location in Tullamore on November 14, 2013; and burglary, at Raheen, Abbeyleix, on December 13, 2013. 

Detective Garda Maher gave evidence that on November 14, 2013, the accused and another male climbed a fence and tried to gain access to a business premises by removing a roof panel. This activated the alarm and the two men left the scene. As they drove away they were detected by gardaí and they rammed a garda car before absconding. Fortunately, there were no injuries in this incident.

On December 13, 2013, the accused and two other men called at a house in Raheen, Abbeyleix. After knocking on the door and getting no answer the three men went to the back, where the accused threw a block through a window to gain access. A gold watch worth €3,000 was stolen.

Det Maher said that this offence had a devastating effect on the injured party’s family unit.

The incident was captured on CCTV, but the accused made no admissions to the crime when arrested. He was charged and released on bail, but then absconded.

The accused had 21 previous convictions.

Defence, Mr Aonghus McCarthy said the accused had just received an eight-month sentence in Carlow for burglary.

He said that up the age of 29 the accused had not offended. Defence handed in a letter written by the accused’s wife which explained why “things went downhill for him” after that age.

He said that the accused had been using cocaine and tablets and accumulated a debt, but he was now clean of drugs.

Judge Staines asked had the accused saved up €3,000 to compensate the victim of the burglary, to which Mr McCarthy replied that the accused had had to pay a lot of compensation over the years and only had €1,400 available.

Directing that the money go to the injured party, Judge Staines imposed six months in prison, with recognisance fixed in the event of an appeal.

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