‘Fantasist’ burglar said he had open invite to house

A “bit of a fantasist” was sentenced to eight weeks for wandering into a house late at night and taking random things. He claimed he had an open invitation.

Abukar Farah, aged 27, with an address at an apartment on Charlemont Terrace, Wellington Rd, Cork, was convicted of burglary by Judge John King, at Cork District Court, despite his claim he had an open invitation from a previous occasion when there was an all-night party of drinking and of smoking marijuana. He said he was friendly with people living in the house, including a man he knew only as Kevin.

However, resident Evan Sweetnam said he got a fright when Farah walked into the house after midnight on July 19, 2017, at St Dominic’s Terrace, French’s Quay, Cork.

He had never seen Farah before. He also said he had been living there for the previous six months and knew nobody called Kevin.

Mr Sweetnam testified: “I was waiting for my friend to call over. He was working late in a bar. I left my door open. A dark-skinned tall man walked into my living room.

“I jumped up and started screaming. He was coming in with random items, saying random things.

“I ran out and called the police. He was taking my guitar, my ashtray — random things. He was coming in and out of the house.

“I think he found out who I was talking to and he decided to leave. I saw my wallet and cards on the road.”

Diarmuid Kelleher, solicitor, said the accused believed he had an open invite to the house.

Inspector Daniel Coholan said the accused must have got the wrong house, but that, one way or another, he had no entitlement to steal property and that this constituted burglary.

Farah said he had drunk eight cans of Stella beer and that he was “1,000%” sure he was welcome at the house. However, he said as soon as he arrived the man who was there panicked and phoned the police.

“I have no reason to go to another person’s house and take things. That is not my culture, not my way, that is not my form. I was going in and saying ‘hello’, maybe having a few drinks with them. I have not stolen anything. I was there to have a few drinks and say hello,” Farrah said.

Inspector Coholan put it to him that he was mistaken and he was guilty of burglary by removing property. The defendant replied: “I have no idea what you are saying.”

Judge King convicted him and said he preferred the evidence of Mr Sweetnam, who was sober and sitting at home when this occurred.

“This is an invasion of someone’s home. I accept he was probably intoxicated, but that is no excuse,” he said.

Judge King said: “He appears to be a bit of a fantasist.”

Inspector Coholan said the accused had 37 previous convictions, including 13 for theft. Garda Paul Dromey said the accused was arrested 50m from where the wallet was found on the road.


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