Thomas Coffey, aged 54, and his nephew Patrick Coffey, aged 21, of Ballyspillane, Killarney, Co Kerry, were brought from jail to Cork Circuit Criminal Court for sentencing yesterday for stealing €11,000 from the woman living at MacCurtain’s Villas, College Rd, Cork, on July 28 last year.
Judge Seán Ó Donnabháin imposed two years on each man, backdated to February, when they went into custody, and suspended the balance of the sentence from yesterday.
The €11,000 was repaid in full and the two men came up with a total of €3,000 on top of that to compensate her for the wrong done.
Judge Ó Donnabháin said: “This is a very mean type of offence. These two men preyed on an elderly vulnerable person in her own home on a continuous basis over a period of days, extracting increased amounts of money from her to a total of €11,000.”
Garda Michelle O’Leary said previously the theft of a total of €11,000 was carried out over a period of three days, from July 28 to July 30 last.
The 79-year-old woman rang a number in the Golden Pages to have her roof repaired and she got through to the two accused.
They came out to the house and quoted her €400 for the work, only to go on and tell her that it was a much more serious and expensive job.
After getting a number of sums of cash from her, the victim was then driven to her local bank by a Lithuanian man at the request of the two Coffeys.
The bank notified the gardaí when workers became suspicious of what might be happening as the woman indicated that she wanted to withdraw €10,000 in cash.
She had intended paying the Coffeys more money and using some of it for other matters.
In the follow-up investigation, the roof was examined and found to have had only a minimal amount of work that was not done to a high standard.
Ray Boland and Sinead Behan, defending, said the defendants co-operated fully with the investigation, paid back more than they had stolen, and apologised for the offence.
In their favour, the judge noted their pleas of guilty and the fact that they had paid back the money.
“The unfortunate lady does not have to come to court to give evidence and I am told she did not want to come to court,” said Judge Ó Donnabháin.