The eldest brother of the Mulhall sisters who killed their mother’s boyfriend has been jailed for five years for robbing two prostitutes in Dublin apartments.
James Mulhall (aged 35) told gardaí he robbed the women to support his own six children and his sister Linda’s four children whom he took on after she was jailed for 15 years for the manslaughter of Farah Swaleh Noor. His other sister, Charlotte, is serving life for murdering Mr Noor.
Garda Deirdre Conway told prosecuting counsel, Ms Isobel Kennedy SC, that Mulhall said he was desperate for money when he robbed the women.
Paul Draper (aged 30), his accomplice in the crimes, was also jailed for five years by Mr Justice Paul Carney at the Central Criminal Court.
Mulhall of Ardmore Walk and Draper of Fortunestown Green, both Tallaght, pleaded guilty to two counts of robbery of prostitutes on September 26 and October 5, 2006.
They robbed €800 cash and nine mobile phones from the first prostitute at Isolde’s Towers Apartments, Lower Exchange Street, near Dublin city centre and €250 cash, one Apple iPod and five mobile phones from the second victim at The George, Charlotte Quay, Ringsend.
Gda Conway told Ms Kennedy the pair forced their way into apartments belonging to the two foreign women working as prostitutes and stole the cash and other property.
Mr Justice Carney noted that Mulhall’s explanation for his involvement in the robberies was the pressure he came under in looking after the children and said that having been the trial judge in his sisters’ case he was aware of the background which included his father’s suicide and the actions of his sisters.
He said the pressures on him would also have included the resultant "press scrutiny of every aspect of the Mulhall family".
"I would be less than human if I didn’t take these matters into account."
Mr Justice Carney said there was also tragedy in Draper’s background which he also had to take in account.
Mr Justice Carney said that aggravating factors in the case included the deliberations put into gaining access to the victims, including 15 phone calls in one instance, and their representation to them that they were members of An Garda Siochana.
He said that Draper merited a higher sentence than Mulhall on the evidence, but he wouldn’t distinguish between them and imposed five-year sentences to date from this hearing, but directed that both are to be given "full credit for all time spent in custody" on this matter.
Gda Conway said the first victim was a Brazilian woman who had advertised on a website and on the night she was robbed she received about 15 calls from a man looking for the Isolde’s Towers Apartments.
When he found the place she let him in but then the second man forced the door open. The two demanded money and took €800 in cash and nine mobile phones before escaping. Gda Conway said gardaí accepted that Draper was the first man and Mulhall was the one who pushed the door open.
She said that about a week later the two phoned the number of a South African prostitute they got on the same website. Draper arrived first at her apartment on Charlotte Quay in Ringsend and again Mulhall forced the door open when his accomplice was let in.
This time they took €250 in cash, five mobile phones and an Apple iPod.
Gda Conway said a friend of the woman picked up a knife in the kitchen but Draper picked up a bottle, saying: "Put the knife down before I smash this bottle over you."
The woman then ran out of a window into the courtyard and shouted at two men to phone the gardaí. Mulhall and Draper went after her and dragged her by the hair back through the window.
Gda Conway said the pair were later arrested and identified by CCTV footage at a different location.
She said the two women had now left the country and had not made victim impact statements. She added that Mulhall admitted the offences but nothing of evidential value arose from the interviews with the other man.
Gda Conway said Mulhall had seven previous conviction and had been jailed for three years in 2004 for dangerous driving causing the death of his friend who was a front seat passenger in a car driven by him. He was also disqualified from driving for 25 years.
She said Draper had 34 previous convictions, mainly for public order and road traffic offences and this was the first time he was dealt with outside the District Court.
Gda Conway agreed with Draper’s defence counsel, Mr Padraig Dwyer SC, that his twin brother had been brutally murdered four years ago.
Gda Conway rejected the suggestion by Mulhall’s defence counsel, Mr Diarmuid McGuinness SC, that the crimes were "opportunistic" and noted the planning that went into them.
She agreed with Mr McGuinness that Mulhall’s father had committed suicide in December 2005 and his two sisters were behind bars serving lengthy sentences.
Mr McGuinness told Mr Justice Carney that Mulhall "truly apologises for the pain and suffering he has caused these women."
He added: "His motivation for committing these crimes was that he needed money. He has six children of his own and he took on his sister Linda’s four children after she was locked up for a lengthy period."