French student 'afraid for her life' during house burglary

A Dublin man who assaulted and tied up two French students in their bedrooms during a violent night burglary will be sentenced at a later date.

French student 'afraid for her life' during house burglary

A Dublin man who assaulted and tied up two French students in their bedrooms during a violent night burglary will be sentenced at a later date.

Stuart Whelan (aged 27) of Keeper Road, Drimnagh pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to the false imprisonment of a man and a woman at Herberton Road, Rialto on April 4, 2011.

Paul Greene SC, defending, said that Whelan was “totally out of control and out of his head” when he committed the crimes.

Moira O’Neill, a community worker, told Mr Greene that Whelan had grown up around violence and crime but is now a “completely different” person since taking part in the Betel drug rehabilitation programme.

Garda Chris Lanney told Vincent Heneghan BL, prosecuting, that Laura Boucila, a foreign student at Griffith College, woke up to find a man standing in her bedroom. The man put his hand over her mouth and demanded money and her laptop.

The victim told gardaí later that she was afraid for her life when the man put a 30cm long knife close to her neck. Another man, also armed with a knife, came into the bedroom and asked for money.

The two men then went into the bedroom of the woman’s housemate, Paul Barraud. They woke him up and asked for his car keys.

When the French student said he didn’t own a car they men began kicking him in the face and threatening to kill him with the knife. One of the attackers stabbed him in the arm before the pair ransacked his room. They stole a laptop, a camera and two mobile phones.

The burglars then tied the two students up using computer cables and tied them into a bedroom.

Whelan was later identified by gardaí because of a distinct pair of Adidas runners he was wearing on the night. Gardaí found some of the stolen items during a search of his home. He refused to tell gardaí who his accomplice was.

The father of one has 90 previous convictions including drug dealing and criminal damage.

Garda Lanney agreed with defence counsel that Whelan’s participation with the Betal treatment programme, which has a religious element to it, had been “wholly positive”. He said he had no problem with Whelan continuing on it.

Judge Mary Ellen Ring adjourned sentencing until January.

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