Two men who stole over €123,000 in life savings from a pensioner were caught “drinking their way through the money” the very next day.
The two men were both sentenced to six years in prison yesterday at Cork Circuit Criminal Court.
The court heard that Malcolm Kelly, aged 26, of Coolageela, Kanturk, Co Cork, and Ger Ryan, aged 31, of Park View, Charleville, Co Cork, had “ransacked’ the house of an 80-year-old man in Kanturk, who had been visiting his sick wife, who was living with their daughter.
While a sum of over €101,000 was recovered by gardaí, more than €21,000 is still missing and presumed to be in the possession of another person who had tipped off Kelly and Ryan about the possibility of money being in the house.
Gardaí caught the men after being called to a Cork hotel on Oct 15, 2012 — the afternoon after the robbery — following a disturbance involving Ryan and his girlfriend. Gardaí found a substantial amount of money in the room safe, mostly in €100 notes.
Judge Sean Ó Donnabháin said: “It appears that someone was drinking the money. It appears remorse had not set in at that stage.”
The court heard that the man whose house was raided visited his wife and daughter most weekends. The money had been saved over the course of his life and kept in his home as he did not trust the banks.
During the Sunday night raid, a rear window was smashed along with a glass internal door, while two upstairs doors were left off their hinges.
Det Garda Padraig Reddington of Kanturk Garda Station, said the house had been ransacked, with drawers pulled out and tables upturned, with “things scattered all over the place”.
Ryan told gardaí at the hotel the money belonged to Kelly, who returned shortly afterwards and was arrested. Kelly claimed at first that the money was funds from a drug deal, but after a third interview, Ryan told gardaí he knew where more cash was being kept.
Neither Ryan nor Kelly has provided any information regarding who might have the missing money. “It is of great concern to [the victim] that some of his money is still missing,” Det Garda Reddington said.
The court was told Kelly has an addiction to Xanax and has previous convictions, including for robbery.
Ryan, originally from Limerick, has 18 previous convictions. In Oct 2000, he was sentenced to 10 years in jail for burglary and false imprisonment.
Judge Ó Donnabháin said the crimes were at the higher end of the scale of this type of offence.
He said it was hard to believe Ryan was anything other than a professional criminal and handed him a six-year sentence with the last 12 months suspended.
As for Malcolm Kelly Judge Ó Donnabháin said his drug problem needed to be addressed. He also handed him a six-year jail sentence but suspended the last two years under the proviso that he remain under the care of the Probation Service and agree to keep the peace. Both sentences were backdated to Oct 15 last.
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