A BURGLAR who terrorised a middle-aged woman after breaking into her home, but then sat down and told her his life story, is one of two prisoners who failed to return to jail from Christmas parole.
The second missing prisoner is also a prolific burglar.
They were the only inmates to go on the run despite the release of 249 prisoners on temporary release for periods varying from a few hours on Christmas Day to a maximum of seven nights.
This was the highest number of releases for several years.
Quentin Sheridan (37), from Clondalkin in west Dublin, was serving a five-year sentence, imposed at Dublin Circuit Criminal court in 2010, and being held at the Training Unit, which is part of the Mountjoy complex.
He was due back behind bars 12 days ago but has not been seen since and is on a garda wanted list.
Sheridan had an address at Rossmore Grove in Templeogue when he pleaded guilty to aggravated burglary at the woman's south Dublin home on October 8, 2008. He had 38 previous criminal convictions.
Judge Katherine Delahunt imposed a seven-year sentence on Sheridan but suspended the final two years.
The court heard that his victim, who lived alone, was in bed after 1am when she heard a crashing noise and saw someone running up the stairs. She shouted out and heard a man say, "stop screaming. I don't want to hurt you".
A man with a scarf over his face ran into her bedroom and said he wanted money and jewellery. After he switched on the bedroom light, she noticed he was armed with a seven-inch bread knife. She was able to see his face and later gave gardai a detailed description.
Sheridan asked his victim if she had ever met a criminal previously and then told her he did not want to hurt her.
He said it was not his fault he had become involved in crime and blamed it on his circumstances.
The court heard he began talking about his life and background and then apologised for the crime. "I have to rob, this is what I have to do," he said.
The woman refused his request for a cup of tea or coffee and then escorted him downstairs before he drove off in her car with about €260.
The second missing prisoner, Gary Cronin(19), a father of one from Droim Chaoin, Bishop O'Donnell Road in Galway city, has 54 criminal convictions, of which 26 are for burglaries.
He was being held at Loughan House where he was serving a 20-month sentence imposed at Galway District Court last May after pleading guilty to five burglaries in the city between October 2012 and January last year.