Woman arrested in her dressing gown over burglary

A 43-year-old woman in dressing gown and pyjamas arrested near a house in the countryside where a safe was stolen during a burglary told gardaí she was in the area to go for a walk.

Kathleen Stokes, aged 43, of Bay 4, St Anthony’s Park, Knocknaheeny, Cork, pleaded not guilty to three charges against her arising out of the burglary. She pleaded not guilty to all three counts at Cork Circuit Criminal Court.

Ms Stokes was put on trial in front of Judge Seán Ó Donnabháin and a jury of four men and eight women yesterday on charges of stealing a safe during a burglary at a house on Faggott Hill, Clogheen, Blarney, Co Cork, damaging the house, and handling of stolen property, namely the safe.

The owner of the house, Mary Murphy, was away for the weekend and this alleged burglary was carried out at around 7pm on Saturday, April 29. Prosecution barrister, Imelda Kelly, said the alarm went off and the alarm company notified the family of the householder’s son and his family living 150m away.

When Ms Stokes was stopped at Faggott Hill, she told Garda Anthony Gardiner she was out for a walk.

During questioning at Gurranabraher Garda Station, Detective Garda Donal O’Connell said to the defendant: “You are not exactly dressed for running through fields.”

Ms Stokes denied in interview that she had anything to do with a burglary.

“I know nothing about any burglary, I don’t commit crime,” she said.

The householder’s daughter-in-law, Anne Murphy, drove to the house with her son, Peter, in response to the alarm company call.

“Just as we were slowing down to turn this maroon jeep shot out the gate and stopped,” she said.

“We kind of looked at it. I said: ‘They must have been in the house.’ I just drove after the jeep beeping at them to stop to know why they were in the house. There was a woman with long blonde hair in the passenger seat and people in the back.

“They stopped at the last house virtually. I stopped behind them. We didn’t know what to do really. Peter tried to phone the guards. The next thing they back backed on top of my car.”

She said the jeep drove off again and into a field.

Mr Murphy said he saw a woman leaving the field via a neighbouring farmyard a few minutes later.

Sian Langley, defence barrister, put it to the witness that he could not say that the woman he saw in the jeep was the same woman he saw leaving the yard. He accepted that proposition.

Garda Anthony Gardiner said he responded to the call about the burglary and saw Ms Stokes walking on Faggott Hill in dressing gown and pyjamas-type attire.

Garda Gardiner said the jeep found in the field had a safe in the back of it. He said this jeep had been parked outside Bay 4, St Anthony’s Park the previous day.

Ms Langley said this vehicle was not registered to the defendant.

The trial continues today.

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