A mother-of-two has received a three year sentence with the final 12 months suspended for her role in burgling an elderly widow’s home.
Detective Garda Dean Kearns revealed that one male who entered the premises broke the then 78-year-old victim’s finger as he pulled off her engagement ring.
Michelle Hanrahan (aged 25) admitted she had driven a car with two teenage male passengers and two adults with the intention of burgling empty homes so she could buy a deal of heroin later that day.
Hanrahan, of Bawnlea Drive, Tallaght, pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to burglary at the Gledswood Park premises in Clonskeagh on September 13, 2009.
She has 47 previous convictions for thefts, burglaries and driving offences and had been disqualified from driving at the time.
Det Gda Kearns told Ms Martina Baxter BL, prosecuting, that the victim, who has since died of natural causes, had been lying on her bed reading newspapers when she heard a noise from downstairs.
She thought it was from her son coming home but later noticed one male on the bed beside her and another in the corner of the room.
She told gardaí she had been terrified and saw her finger bleeding and her engagement ring missing.
She said she phoned her daughter when the intruders left and was later taken to St James Hospital where an X-ray revealed she had a broken finger.
A neighbour told investigating gardaí that she had encountered two teenage males at her car window when she was pulling up outside her house a short distance from the Gledswood Park area sometime before the incident.
The males told her she had a flat tyre but walked away when a person from next door passed by.
The witness said she saw the teenagers get into a car being driven by a woman.
The owner of a premises in Sandyford had also reported disturbing a number of people in a car around his home earlier the day of the burglary.
Det Gda Kearns revealed that colleagues later noticed the same car parked outside Hanrahan’s home.
Hanrahan told gardaí a female passenger in the car had selected the elderly lady’s home and two males got out and entered.
She said she gave out to them for “touching the old lady” when they returned but didn’t see them with a ring.
Det Gda Kearns told Ms Baxter that he arrested a 14-year-old male, who also pleaded guilty to the burglary offence at Gledswood Park.
The boy initially denied involvement during interview but eventually said he’d kept watch in the hallway as two other males went upstairs to the bedroom.
The detective garda agreed with Mr Conor Devally SC, defending Hanrahan, that his client had developed a heroin addiction and said she only saw the teenagers come back from the widow’s home with about €20 in change.
He agreed with Ms Nessa Ní Bhriain BL, defending the now 15-year-old youth, that this was her client’s first time in the Circuit Court though he has seven previous convictions.
He further agreed that there had been a tragedy in the teenager’s family.
Mr Devally submitted that Hanrahan had acknowledged her role in facilitating the burglary by driving her accomplices to the scene.
Ms Ní Bhriain submitted to Judge Desmond Hogan that her client had been susceptible to influence of older people because his character was “not fully formed”.
Judge Hogan adjourned the 15-year-old’s sentence for 12 months pending an updated probation report.
He suspended the final 12 months of Hanrahan’s sentence for 3 years and told her she would have been given a six year sentence had she entered the victim’s premises.
“I’ve no doubt it was a ring that had been on (the victim’s) finger for a long number of years”, he commented.