Retirement home thief dropped phone at scene

A thief who was tracked down by gardaí after he dropped his phone during a burglary at a retirement home for Presentation Brothers has been jailed for three years with the last year suspended.

Cork Circuit Criminal Court heard that John O’Shea, aged 53, originally from Togher in the city, startled a woman working in the kitchen during the course of a robbery at Presentation Brothers, Maiville , Turner’s Cross, on April 19.

Garda Pádraig Harrington told Judge Seán Ó Donnabháin that the injured party was in the kitchen shortly before 11am on the day of the offence when she spotted O’Shea in the wardrobe area where the handbags were stored.

She screamed and O’Shea attempted to flee the scene.

He grabbed the woman by the arm and she reacted by tearing the pocket from his jacket, causing him to drop his phone as he left the scene.

The phone was subsequently examined by gardaí and photographs of O’Shea were found on it.

Garda Harrington said O’Shea has accumulated 362 previous convictions which date back to the 1980s.

He has been in trouble with the law since he was 13 years old with 350 district court convictions and a further 12 at circuit court level.

The vast majority of his convictions are for burglary.

The court heard that O’Shea made full admissions of his guilt when interviewed in relation to the incident at the retirement home.

He readily conceded that he grabbed the woman’s hand.

Defence barrister, Peter Flynn, said his client became a father three years ago causing a significant decline in his criminal activity.

O’Shea works part-time valeting cars. The court heard that he suffers from a gambling addiction and has a child with a disability.

In sentencing, Judge Ó Donnabháin described O’Shea’s behaviour as “lamentable”.

He said the man’s conduct had caused “stress” to the victim and that she had been frightened by the incident.

He jailed O’Shea, who is currently of no fixed abode, for three years suspending the last 12 months.

The sentence was backdated to April 20 when O’Shea went in to custody.


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