Burglar must pay victim €25,000
A 29-year-old woman, who was terrorised while being robbed in her bedroom by two masked burglars, has won €25,000 damages against one of them for emotional stress, assault and trespass.
Caroline Grainger, a systems analyst, told the Circuit Civil Court yesterday that she thought she was going to be killed in the middle of the night when the men pulled her blankets over her head.
She said Simon O'Connor, of Clanawley Road, Donnycarney, Dublin, pleaded guilty in the Circuit Criminal Court to the burglary and had been jailed for five years.
Ms Grainger, of Station Road, Portmarnock, Co Dublin, told barrister Conor Gallagher that on March 7, 2004, she was wakened at 3am by two men wearing balaclavas walking toward her in her bedroom.
They threatened to hurt her and told her not to scream. The burglars asked where the safe was kept and told her they knew she had money.
They spent about half-an-hour rifling the room and stole €500, jewellery and a laptop containing her academic studies.
"They became aggressive and threatened to hurt me while searching shelves above my bed," she told Mr O'Connor. "Then they moved into my sister Kerry's room and I heard her scream."
Mr Gallagher told the court Kerry Grainger had also taken an action against O'Connor but she was out of the country and her case had been adjourned. He said O'Connor was not in court and had taken no steps to defend the claims.
Caroline Grainger said she still suffered nightmares and flashbacks of the horrific experience. She now slept behind locked and bolted doors and feared crowds or people walking behind her.
GP Dr Gareth May told the court Ms Grainger had suffered mild to severe post-traumatic stress syndrome and had moved out to live with a friend for six months.
Mr Justice Matthew Deery said she had been subjected to a very distressing ordeal in which her room had been pulled asunder.
He said the burglars had occasionally removed their masks and she had been able to recognise them.