A man who robbed pension savings from an 88-year-old woman by posing as a council worker has been sentenced to two years in prison.
Christopher Doran (aged 64), of Ivy Hostel, Christchurch, Dublin pleaded guilty to committing theft at Montpelier Hill, Dublin 7 on January 19, 2013.
The grandfather and chronic alcoholic has 123 previous convictions, mostly targeting older people.
Passing sentence at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court, Judge Martin Nolan described the offence as “particularly miserable”.
“He has a history of preying on old people, and has burgled and stolen from them. It's a reprehensible form of crime,” he said.
Garda Ciaran Whelan told Pieter Le Vert BL, prosecuting, that the accused call to the elderly woman's house wearing a high visibility jacket and posing as a city council employee.
Mary O'Brien who lived at the house with her twin brother, answered a knock at the door.
Doran told her he was with the waterworks from Dublin City Council and had come to check the pipes.
Ms O'Brien was initially suspicious but then let Doran in. She followed him up the stairs into the bathroom, where he said there had been a burst pipe which would cost €15 to repair.
She had already taken out some money from a see-through plastic bag kept under the stairs.
The bag contained €250 in €50 notes saved from the twins' pension money.
She picked up the bag of money to pay him and Doran grabbed it out of her hand and ran out of the house.
After his arrest Doran made full admissions to gardaí and said he had known there was an elderly pair in the house and “there wouldn't be much resistance”.
“I was short on cash and I needed it to buy clothes and things like that,” he said.
Michael Hourigan BL, defending, said his client had experienced great tragedy in his life having lost his three sons.
One son died in 1972, another in 2009 from drugs, while his remaining son took his own life last autumn. He is married with two surviving daughters.
Mr Hourigan said Doran's own father had been an alcoholic and that the family had endured considerable poverty.
Doran got TB as an infant and was cared for in institutions, only entering the family home at age 11.
He was caught stealing at 13 and spent three “difficult and unpleasant” years in Artane Industrial School.
The court heard he has been in and out of jail since then with “intermittent success” in dealing with his alcohol addiction.
Judge Nolan said Doran's life had not been “a bed of roses” but that he has consistently made the wrong decisions.
He said grabbing money from an old person was enough to frighten them and affect their peace of mind.
Judge Nolan gave Doran credit for making admissions to gardaí and sentenced him to two years in prison.