A MAN who dragged a 96-year-old woman from her bed, beat her and robbed her of €3,000 has been jailed for five years.
Thomas Alcock kicked in the bedroom door of Greta Lilly at her home in Aghilly, Buncrana, Co Donegal, in the early hours of January 5 this year.
The 49-year-old father of one had only been released from jail a few weeks earlier in the UK, before he travelled to Ireland to live in Donegal.
Alcock called to Ms Lilly's home three times on the day before the robbery, looking to buy scrap metal.
However, at 12.30am the following morning, after smoking cannabis and taking crack cocaine, he called to Ms Lilly's home again.
Once inside her bedroom, he carried out an horrific assault on the elderly woman, who lived alone.
Garda Danny Devlin told Letterkenny Circuit Court that Alcock, of no fixed abode, hit Ms Lilly in the face, dragged her by the hair and also stuffed her own cardigan in her mouth to keep her quiet. He also told her he would kill her if she didn't co-operate with him.
The attacker, who was hooded, dragged her out of the bed and stole her handbag, which contained €3,000, and a gold ring belonging to her mother.
Ms Lilly finally managed to summon help by pressing an alarm which she had around her wrist.
Gardai began a manhunt for Alcock and he was arrested with £800 (€930) stuffed in a sock outside his bedroom at An Grianan Hotel in Burt.
The court also heard that a local bureau de change reported that a man had changed €3,500 to sterling, including a number of €100 notes.
The court heard that Ms Lilly was taken to Letterkenny General Hospital to be treated for her injuries but was released. However, she has since gone to live in residential care, where she remains after her ordeal.
Alcock asked to address the court and said: "I feel great shame for what I done. I apologise."
Judge O'Hagan told the accused that if he had not pleaded guilty and had been found guilty by a jury, he would have been sentenced to 10 years in prison.