Burglars pretending to be gardaí broke into 83-year-old's bedroom in Cork

'Spree of planned and pre-meditated burglaries'
Burglars pretending to be gardaí broke into 83-year-old's bedroom in Cork

Cork Circuit Criminal Court was told the 83-year-old was cocooning at the time as part of the lockdown. She woke to find two men in her bedroom. They said they were members of An Garda Síochána looking for burglars. Picture: Eddie O'Hare

Two burglars in a pre-meditated spree of crimes broke into the home of an 83-year-old woman shining torches in her bedroom and telling her they were gardaí looking for burglars.

Detective Sergeant Joe Young gave evidence at the sentencing hearing for one of the accused men, Christopher Jones, today at Cork Circuit Criminal.

“This was a spree of planned and pre-meditated burglaries,” Det. Sgt Young said.

After the prosecution evidence was given today Judge Seán Ó Donnabháin decided to adjourn sentencing until February 4 and he remanded Jones in custody until then.

Evidence was given of several burglaries. In respect of the home of the 83-year-old woman on Great William O’Brien St, Cork, Det. Sgt Young said it occurred at around 3am.

“The 83-year-old woman was cocooning at the time as part of the lockdown. She woke to find two men carrying what she described as lamps in her bedroom. They said they were members of An Garda Síochána looking for burglars.

“They asked her where she kept her money. She was in fear at the time,” Det. Sgt Young said. 

He added:

€2,500 in cash was taken, and €200 she had in a Confirmation card for her grandson.

A further €80 was also taken before the two intruders left her house. It was estimated that this ordeal went on for four minutes.

The accused was arrested 12 hours later having been identified on CCTV. Jones had €140 in cash on him at the time of his arrest.

He was interviewed five times in relation to several burglaries carried out around this time. It was only in the last few minutes of the fifth interview that he made certain admissions about this particular burglary, Det. Sgt Young said.

In another one of the burglaries carried out around this time, Det. Sgt Young said they carried baseball bats but nobody was physically assaulted in the course of the crime.

As well as pleading guilty to burglaries, Jones also confessed to impersonating a member of An Garda Síochána and carrying out an aggravated burglary at the home of the 83-year-old woman at Great William O’Brien Street, Cork, on April 9.

He also signed pleas of guilty to charges of carrying out five other burglaries of houses on High Street, Frankfield Villas, O’Connor Ville and Tyrone Place in Cork, all on the night of April 16/17.

Prosecution barrister Ray Boland said that there was a formal requirement for him to seek directions from the DPP on the office’s opinion on the seriousness of the case and where the DPP would put this case on a spectrum of such cases.

Jones, 27, of no fixed address will be sentenced in February 2021 on the five burglary charges, one count of aggravated burglary and one count of impersonating a police officer.

A young couple wrote in a victim impact statement that they would not have expected that they would ever see themselves as crime victims but that the burglary at their home did have a bad effect on them. 

Another victim said he had moved house as a result of the burglary. The 83-year-old woman did not make a victim impact statement.

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