Man stole handbag after pretending to inspect boiler

By Liam Heylin

A woman in her 70s was duped into letting a man into her Cork City home to inspect her boiler. When the man was gone she discovered that her handbag had been stolen.

Stephen McNamara, of no fixed address, was jailed for nine months yesterday for the theft.

Judge Olann Kelleher said: “This is a despicable crime to take advantage of this elderly lady in the centre of Cork City.

“He inveigled his way into her home. One can imagine her anguish when she discovered this crime had been committed.”

Inspector Finbarr O’Sullivan said the crime was committed by McNamara, aged 43, at Sheares St, Cork, on April 19, 2017.

“He said he was going to inspect the boiler area of the elderly woman’s home,” Insp O’Sullivan told the court. “He was in the house for five minutes.

“An hour after he had gone she discovered that her handbag containing €200 with various bank cards and driving licence had been taken. None of the property was recovered.

“He was interviewed by gardaí. He made full admissions. He has 119 previous convictions.”

Frank Buttimer, defence solicitor, said the accused was serving four years in prison, with one year suspended for robbery, that sentence commencing in July 2017.

It was stated in court that, in fairness to the accused man, while the offence was inexcusable, he did admit the offence and the State would have been in grave difficulty prosecuting it without his cooperation.

Mr Buttimer said: “He is ruined from heroin. He is from the northside of Cork City. He had a difficult enough upbringing.

“He was off all substances for years but regressed and got into a very serious addiction. He became homeless and went down the road of drink and drugs.”

Mr Buttimer said the accused was a rather talented artist and was working on developing this talent while he was in prison. He added that the accused was very apologetic.

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