Disabled man robbed after woman offered to tie laces

A disabled man had his wallet robbed after a woman offered to help him tie his shoelaces, a court heard.

Belinda O’Sullivan, aged 24, pleaded guilty, at Limerick Circuit Court, to robbing the wheelchair user, on May 25, 2014.

Judge Tom O’Donnell said O’Sullivan, of McGarry House, Alphonsus Street, Limerick, had “an appalling record”, having amassed 102 convictions.

O’Sullivan, who knew the victim, robbed him on Lord Edward Street, Limerick, after approaching him with an accomplice. The victim, who has cerebral palsy, was asked if he needed help tying his shoelaces. O’Sullivan then took his wallet and struck him in the face. He became distressed and was helped by two passers-by, who called gardaí.

“A specially trained garda and a disability advocate had to be called to deal with the man,” the judge said.

O’Sullivan initially told gardaí that she “was trying to help the man” in the wheelchair.

She later admitted robbing him and expressed remorse.

Judge O’Donnell praised the male victim, “who, despite his difficulties, gave an excellent account of what happened to gardaí”.

“The victim felt that the accused saw him as an easy target,” the judge said.

Reading the man’s victim-impact statement, Judge O’Donnell said he “was nervous for a period afterward” and has “started building up his confidence”.

O’Sullivan, who took ill during the sentencing hearing, also appeared in court for the activation of two previously suspended, consecutive sentences for robbery.

Judge O’Donnell remanded her in custody to June 1.


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