A man who broke into the home of an 83-year-old woman, shining a torch in her bedroom and announcing himself as a garda looking for burglars was jailed for six years for this burglary and a spree of others.
Judge Seán Ó Donnabháin imposed a sentence of seven years on 45-year-old Anthony Horgan with the last year suspended at Cork Circuit Criminal Court.
Defence barrister, Allison McCarthy, said that while he had a bad history of criminal convictions he was a long-term drug addict with a chaotic lifestyle.
The judge said that the only point with which he disagreed with the prosecution was their description of the crimes being pre-planned and said: “There were a number of houses in the one location where it appeared they all happened in a somewhat chaotic outburst… There was undoubtedly an escapade.”
The judge agreed that as it happened in the course of a Covid-19 lockdown it was almost inevitable that the houses would have been occupied at the time – something he regarded as an aggravating factor.
Telling the elderly lady that they were members of An Garda Síochána was also an aggravating factor in the crimes committed by Horgan and his accomplice, Judge Ó Donnabháin said.
Referring to Horgan’s previous offending the judge remarked on his “predisposition to this type of offence which has gone on for a very long time – to the public’s detriment.”
Detective Sergeant Joe Young gave evidence at Anthony Horgan’s sentencing at Cork Circuit Criminal of five burglaries and an aggravated burglary where he and his accomplice burgled the home of two brothers at a time when one of the intruders was armed with a baseball bat.
The detective said in respect of the home of the 83-year-old woman at Tyrone Place, Windmill Road Cork, that it occurred at around 3am.
“The 83-year-old woman was cocooning at the time as part of the national 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 in the area looking for burglars.
“They asked her where she kept her money. She was in fear at the time. €2,500 in cash was taken, and €200 that she had in a Confirmation card for her grandson,” Det Sgt Young said.
"A further €80 was also taken before the two intruders left her house. It was estimated that this ordeal went on for four minutes,” Det Sgt Young said.
The accused was arrested 12 hours later being identified on CCTV. He had €1,650 which had been given to a relative of Horgan and this was recovered.
Horgan was interviewed five times at Togher garda station and made no admissions. During the fifth interview he got aggressive and picked up a steel dustbin and threatened to throw it out the window and at Garda Mike Walsh.
Horgan served 16 custodial sentences for his crimes in Ireland and four for UK offences.
Det Sgt Young said that in one of his previous crimes of aggravated burglary in Carrigtohill he threatened a wheelchair-bound man in his sixties with an iron bar.
As well as pleading guilty to five burglaries, Jones also confessed to impersonating a member of An Garda Síochána and carrying out an aggravated burglary at Great William O’Brien Street, Cork, on April 9, when his accomplice was carrying a baseball bat.
The crimes were committed High Street, Frankfield Villas, O’Connor Ville and Tyrone Place in Cork, all on the night of April 16/17.