Thursday 29 June 2017

Man (90) used saw to chase away burglar armed with a sword

Garda: File photo
Garda: File photo

Conor Gallagher and Conor Feehan

A 90-year-old former carpenter who used a saw to fight off a sword-wielding burglar said it was the "best weapon choice" for defence.

The elderly man kept a saw under his bed for safety and bravely used it when a brazen thief tried to enter his bedroom.

The man's wife woke him when she heard somebody breaking the front door of their home in Finglas.

The evidence was heard during the trial of Garrett Lyster (22), from Casement Grove in Finglas, who pleaded guilty to the burglary. The man, who asked not to be named, said he used the saw when he spotted the burglar's hand coming around the bedroom door at 4.45am on May 12, 2013.

"I saw his hand and I hit it with the saw. I used to be a carpenter and a man told me a saw was the best weapon you could have - because they can't grab it off you," said the elderly man. "After I hit him he hit me with a sword and cut my hand."

The man's wife said that she was shaken by the incident.

"I heard the front door being broken and I was terrified," she said. "I woke my husband and, by the time he got up, the burglar was on the landing."

The burglar fled and the gardai arrived soon afterwards.

Lyster had been acting as lookout at the time, and was caught by gardai because he left his mobile phone at the scene.

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The court heard the couple's son came to the house and heard ringing coming from the back garden. He found a phone under a tree and gave it to gardai, who linked it to Lyster. He later admitted "keeping sketch" during the burglary.

The court heard there were no victim impact reports from the couple due to illness.

Defence counsel Giollaiosa O'Lideadha said Lyster was a vulnerable man who was easily led. Judge Catherine Murphy said she would be "extremely reluctant" to impose a jail term given that he hadn't been before the courts before. She said he must stay out of trouble before she finalises sentence in July.

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