Accused anxious to be sentenced

A 43-year-old woman was found guilty yesterday of handling a stolen safe that was taken from the home of an elderly woman in the countryside near Cork City.

Defence barrister Sian Langley said, immediately after the verdict was delivered late yesterday afternoon that the accused, Kathleen Stokes, was anxious to have sentencing as soon as possible.

Judge Seán Ó Donnabháin said: “Let her rest assured she is facing a substantial period in custody. She should relax herself now. I don’t see any urgency. It is a very serious case and the level of criminality is complete.”

She was remanded in custody for sentencing on November 21. The jury took an hour and a half to reach their unanimous verdict of guilty on the charge of handling stolen property.

Kathleen Stokes, aged 43, of Bay 4, St Anthony’s Park, Knocknaheeny, Cork, had been found not guilty at Cork Circuit Criminal Court on other charges — stealing the safe during a burglary at a house on Faggott Hill, Clogheen, Blarney, Co Cork, and damaging the house.

Witnesses saw a woman with long blonde hair in the front passenger seat of a jeep seen speeding out of the drive of the burgled house, and a blonde woman later leaving a field where an abandoned jeep with a stolen safe in the boot was found.

Gardaí later met Kathleen Stokes walking down the road in a dressing gown and pyjamas. When stopped at Faggott Hill, she told Garda Anthony Gardiner she was out for a walk. Interviewed later, Stokes said: “I know nothing about any burglary, I don’t commit crime.”

The owner of the house was away and the burglary was carried out at around 7pm on April 29.

“I stopped behind them. We didn’t know what to do really. Peter tried to phone the guards. The next thing they backed on top of my car,” Ms Murphy testified.

She said the jeep drove off again and into a field. Peter Murphy said he saw a woman leaving the field through a neighbouring farmyard a few minutes later.

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