A 78-year-old Cork woman whose home was burgled in the middle of the night a year ago is still living in fear now.
The pensioner said in a victim impact statement before Cork Circuit Criminal Court that it was a very frightening experience. She said the fact that she lives alone added to her trauma.
Detective Garda Declan O’Dwyer said the culprit, 57-year-old David Cronin, brought a screwdriver and hacksaw to the scene of the crime at Model Farm Road, Cork, on December 10, 2021.
The elderly homeowner was woken to what sounded like someone moving a bin, but it got louder and then she heard glass smashing, and it went on for a period of 15 minutes as she lay in bed.
Judge Dara Hayes imposed a total sentence of three years on Cronin of Deerpark House, Friars Walk, Cork, who pleaded guilty to this burglary and charges arising out of two other incidents.
Detective Sergeant Katrine Tansley gave evidence of the defendant’s efforts to break into the O’Sho pub on Barrack Street. Shortly before 11pm on June 28, 2021, David Cronin was captured on CCTV smashing a pane of glass and reaching his arm into the storeroom and looking for items inside.
He then went around to the front door and spent some time kicking the door trying to force it open. In the course of this ill-fated attempted break-in, he caused damage to CCTV at the premises. Gardaí were alerted to the alarm going off at O’Sho and they went there to find the 56-year-old. He was arrested and put into a patrol van.
“When the back door of the patrol van was opened, he swung his fist at Garda Brendan Ryan and there was a struggle that went on over several minutes at the back of the patrol van. When interviewed later he claimed not to remember any of this due to intoxication but when he was shown CCTV he accepted responsibility,” Det. Sgt Tansley said.
Defence barrister Donal O’Sullivan said of the accused man: “He is a man experienced in burglary, but this was not one of his better ones. After spending 10 minutes trying to get in, he ends up on his backside.” David Cronin had 98 previous convictions including 25 for burglary, seven for robbery, four for assaulting police officers and three for assault causing harm.
Mr O’Sullivan said this attempted break-in was never likely to succeed. “After 10 minutes he quite literally fell on his backside. He got his hand into the premises. That was as far as he got.” Mr O’Sullivan BL said Cronin’s main addiction was alcohol.
The third and most recent incident occurred on February 14 this year. A motorist returning to his car parked on Copley Street saw Cronin standing beside the car after he had smashed a back window and he was leaning in to take a wallet on a seat.
The owner demanded it back and Cronin did hand over the wallet. However, he then produced a small knife. The motorist managed to take the knife from him and held him on the ground until the gardaí arrived. The repair bill from the broken window was €177.