Sunday 24 September 2017

Burglar previously acquitted of killing Offaly publican jailed for string of pub break-ins

Conor Gallagher

AN "incorrigible burglar" previously acquitted of the killing of Offaly publican Matt Farrell has been jailed for four and a half years for a string of pub break-ins.

According to his own counsel, Eddie Wing (31) was a source of significant criminality in the Midlands area before he was caught and charged with five burglaries committed over a two month period



Last March a jury found Wing of Roscrea, Co Tipperary not guilty of the manslaughter of Mr Farrell during a burglary of his pub in April 2009.



Today Superintendent Pat Murray told Padráic Hogan BL, prosecuting, that Wing committed the break-ins to fund the drugs habits of a local group of heroin users.



He took a total of €11,000 worth of cash, cigarettes and jewellery during the burglaries



Wing pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to the burglary of a home at Cullenagh, Portlaoise, Co Laois on January 29, 2009.



He pleaded guilty to burglary of Dan and Mollly’s Bar at Kilcormack, Co Offaly on February 15, 2009 and burglary of Shorthall's Pub, The Square, Castlecomer, Co Offaly on February 18, 2009.



Wing also entered pleas of guilty to charges of burglary of The Elbow, Moate, Co Westmeath on February 19, 2009 and burglary of The Hawthorns, Ballacolla, Co Laois, on February 26, 2009.



During several of the pub burglaries he broke open cigarette machines, tills and a jukebox to steal from them. He also took money from the collection boxes



When he was arrested he was interviewed 32 times and eventually admitted to the break-ins. Supt Murray agreed that his admissions were very helpful to the investigation.



Wing has 46 previous convictions including six other pub burglaries, theft and forgery.



Defence counsel Conor Devally SC said his client was a long time drug user who fell into debt with a “sinister individual”.



He said he comes from a decent family and is now trying to use his time in custody to better himself.



Judge Martin Nolan called Wing an “incorrigible burglar” but said it was too his credit that he made sure the premises were unoccupied when he broke into them.



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