Man who stole women’s underwear ‘broke hat in jealousy’

A 61-year-old man with a fetish who broke into women’s homes to steal their underwear, broke one victim’s hat in a jealous rage because he didn’t own one like it himself, a court has heard.

Gerard Lee, a native of Limerick, with an address at 68 Killeen Woods, Tralee, Co Kerry, pleaded guilty at the last moment before Galway District Court this week to burglary at a house in Forster Court, Galway, on the night of August 1 last year. Lee also pleaded guilty to burglary at a house in The Elms, Forster St, on the night of July 30/31, and to handling a woman’s purse knowing it was stolen on the same night.

Inspector Mick Dwyer said Lee was caught in the house Forster Court house by a tenant and was held there until gardaí arrived.

While he was in the house, Lee spotted a €500 headpiece which belonged to one of the female tenants. He became jealous and broke it in two.

“Ooh, she must have had it for the Races,” Judge Mary Fahy said.

She asked the inspector if it was a Philip Treacy hat. He looked bewildered and said he didn’t know.

“The genesis for all these burglaries and behaviour is an underlying psycho-sexual disease,” defence solicitor, Ronan Murphy said and handed a psychological report on his client to the court along with a report from his GP.

“This has been going on for 21 years. It’s cost him his marriage. He is now 61. He’s separated from his wife and he has four grown-up children,” Mr Murphy explained.

He said Lee is now working for Fás as a chef, earning €300 a week.

Reading the reports, Judge Fahy said the prognosis was not good.“He’s been stealing ladies’ underwear as far back as 1995. It’s now 2016,” and if he was getting help , “surely it would have abated by now”, she said.

Judge Fahy said she didn’t like the way in which he broke the headpiece in two. “If he didn’t break it, we wouldn’t be looking for €500,” she said.

Mr Murphy said his client broke it out of jealousy and that was part of his dysfunction.

“What a load of codswallop, that a man would be jealous of a woman’s hat. They wouldn’t be of much use to most men,” Judge Fahy said.

She remanded Lee on continuing bail to appear before her again in July with the €500.

She imposed conditions on his bail, that Lee continue with his counselling, stay away from Galway city and county, other than for court appearances, and be of good behaviour.


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