Burglar must pay €25,000 to woman over 'horror' break-in
A WOMAN terrorised in her bedroom by two burglars when she was just 14 last night said she was delighted with being awarded €25,000 against one of the criminals.
Kerrie Grainger (21) was awarded the money in the Circuit Civil Court yesterday against one of the burglars, Dubliner Simon O'Connor, for emotional stress, assault and trespass.
Last night, Ms Grainger told the Irish Independent that she was "delighted" with the outcome.
She added: "It will always affect me and my sister. It was absolutely horrific. To this day I can't stay in my house on my own."
Ms Grainger, daughter of leading publican Mark Grainger, has had to live with locks and bolts on her bedroom door since the night she awoke in horror to find two masked burglars at the foot of her bed.
Ms Grainger's 30-year-old sister, Caroline, was awarded €25,000 last July against O'Connor, who was said to have an interest in a property.
A legal expert told the Irish Independent last night that it can be difficult to get a criminal to pay compensation.
But he said that Ms Grainger can register a judgment against O'Connor's property interest and force him to sell if he continues to refuse to pay.
Mr Grainger, whose pubs include the Sheaf of Wheat in Coolock and Graingers in Baldoyle, said the family had installed CCTV and the burglars were identified when they took off their masks and looked straight into the camera.
He said that he thought it would be difficult to secure the money from O'Connor, but that he was confident they would get it eventually.
"After the incident, we had to spend a fortune on security," Mr Grainger said.
Barrister Conor Gallagher told Mr Justice Matthew Deery that the Grainger household, of St Helen's, Station Road, Portmarnock, Co Dublin, had been broken into on March 7, 2004 and that the raiders had asked the girls where the safe was kept.
Mr Gallagher, who appeared with James Loomes for Kerrie Grainger, said O'Connor, of Clanawley Road, Donnycarney, Dublin, and another man had pleaded guilty in the criminal courts to assault in the course of a robbery, and had been sentenced to six years.
Describing the incident, Ms Grainger said she had at first pulled the bedclothes over her head while the two men ransacked her bedroom in a search for money and jewellery.
She said they had told her they would hurt her if she screamed or if she left her room after they did.
They had gone into her sister Caroline's bedroom and also searched that room, the court was told.
The court heard the burglars had spent about half an hour rifling the rooms and had taken about €500 and some jewellery.
Judge Deery said he recalled having awarded Caroline €25,000 damages in July last year and he felt that her sister Kerrie was entitled to a similar amount.
He said she had been through a particularly frightening experience and had been threatened with physical violence.