A man who broke into a Dublin church with a knife to steal items to feed his drug habit has been sentenced to two and a half years in prison at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court.
Thomas Dillon (aged 34) broke into St Canice’s Church in Finglas by smashing a valuable stained-glass window and attempted to steal cash, a laptop and two bags of mobile phones which were collected for a charity.
Dillon, of no fixed abode, pleaded guilty to aggravated burglary at the church in Finglas on February 6, 2014.
He further pleaded guilty to being in possession of a knife on the same date at the same place.
Garda Ronan Farrelly told prosecuting counsel Maurice Coffey BL, he met with the parish priest who told him that an intruder was in the church.
“There were no lights on in the church and the defendant was located at the foot of the altar armed with a knife,” said Gda Farrelly.
He said gardaí turned on the lights and ordered Dillon to drop the knife which he did.
He had in his possession a laptop, a number of cash boxes and two bags of mobile phones which were collected for the Jack & Jill Foundation.
Dillon had gained access to the parish office by kicking in the door. The total damage amounted to €2,800, including repairs to the stained glass window which he broke with a rock.
Gda Farrelly agreed with defence counsel, Kathleen Leader BL, that Dillon was struggling with a drug addiction at the time.
“He had been off heroin about a week and relapsed,” said Ms Leader.
“He has apologised for breaking into the church and says it is the worst thing a person could do,” defence counsel said, adding that Dillon told gardaí he had been “off the gear for eight days but took a bag of heroin that day.”
Dillon has been in residential treatment since September and is a talented boxer having trained a boxing team in Kildare.
Judge Martin Nolan said it is “up to him to decide whether he is going to become a contributing member of society on his release from custody.”
He backdated the sentence to last February.