Jail for burglar identified after CCTV captured him having haircut in barbers

By Sarah-Jane Murphy

A burglar, identified after CCTV captured him having a hair cut in a barbers next door to the house he broke into, has been jailed for 17 months.

Judge Karen O'Connor said she considered it very serious that a family home, where a mother and her twins were taking an afternoon nap, was violated.

Matthew Ahern (53), of St Brigid's Court, Raheny, Dublin pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to burglary at Collins Avenue East, Killester on February 17, 2016.

He has 48 previous convictions including seven for burglary, dating back as far as 1982.

At an earlier hearing, Garda Laura Nulty told Grainne O'Neill BL, prosecuting, that the homeowner was asleep in a bedroom after putting her children down for a nap at 2:30pm.

She heard rustling noises and thought her husband was in the room, but then saw Ahern taking her iPad and laptop from a bedroom dresser, the court heard.

The woman grabbed them back and Ahern then took two mobile phones before leaving the house.

CCTV recovered from a barbers next door showed Ahern having a hair cut immediately prior to the break in and he was arrested, Garda Nulty said.

She agreed with Seoirse O'Dunlaing BL, defending, that although it was traumatic for the woman to find an unknown male in her home, he had no implements on him and it had been a “smash and grab.”

Mr O'Dunlaing said his client wasn't asking the court to listen to a cock and bull story, and said Ahern hadn't come to garda attention since this offence.

In sentencing, Judge O'Connor noted that Ahern had made a huge effort regarding his methadone maintenance programme. She gave him credit for his guilty plea, and for changing his chaotic lifestyle.

However, she said a mother's home and her sense of safety were violated and property was stolen, and sentenced Ahern to three years imprisonment with the final 19 months suspended.

She said prison may be difficult for Ahern as he had been ill in the past and was older than most of the prison population.

Judge O'Connor advised Ahern to use the suspended portion of his sentence as a focus, to keep him out of trouble while in custody.

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