Judge: Our elderly must be protected

A measure of a society is how it protects elderly people, a judge said yesterday when jailing, for three years, a handbag snatcher who robbed a 74-year-old nun and a second woman, aged 79.

Christopher Casey, aged 39, McGarry House, St Alphonsus St, Limerick, and originally from St Mary’s Park, pleaded guilty at Limerick Circuit Court to robbing the women on August 18, 2015, and March 12 last.

He was on bail for the first robbery when he carried out the second offence.

One victim wrestled with Casey and aggravated a hand injury.

Garda Barry Manton said Margaret Hedderman, 79, drove into the city at around 6pm last March and parked near the Redemptorist Church on South Circular Road.

As she assisted her disabled sister out of the car, the accused approached. He grabbed Ms Hedderman’s handbag and ran off. She resisted and received a grazed finger and was very shaken.

The bag had €50 cash and personal items, including a crucifix she had for 24 years belonging to her late mother.

Casey, staying nearby at Harbour View apartments, was detected through CCTV.

In the second incident, Sr Elzear Mullins, a nun with the St Clare order, had returned from a convent in Co Down to her native Limerick. She planned a holiday with relatives who resided in Pery Square.

Accompanied by another nun, Sr Mercedes Cohen, they arrived around midday on March 12. As Sr Elzear was getting out of the car, Sr Mercedes heard her cry out. She saw Casey had knocked her to the ground and grabbed a bag with €400 cash. The nun received cuts to her knees.

Ms Hedderman’s handbag with its contents was recovered but the money was missing when Sr Elzear’s handbag was found.

Judge John Hannan said elderly people were entitled to society’s respect due to the vulnerability that comes with age and we must be constantly aware of this. It is a measure of our society how we protect the vulnerable, the judge added.


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