Friday 30 September 2016

Prolific burglar who broke into community centre three weeks after prison release avoids jail

Fiona Ferguson

Published 11/07/2016 | 16:06

The Criminal Courts of Justice in Dublin
The Criminal Courts of Justice in Dublin

A prolific burglar who broke into a community centre three weeks after being released from an eleven year sentence has avoided another jail term.

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Anthony Connors (40), who has 47 previous convictions, committed the offence after he relapsed into drug use following his release from prison in September 2015.

Connors, of South Richmond Street, Dublin pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to burglary at the Daughter's of Charity Community Services, Henrietta Street on October 13, 2015.

Judge Karen O'Connor had adjourned sentencing after hearing evidence last May to allow Connors attend for residential drug treatment. She noted today that despite his intentions this had not worked out and he had been brought back before the court for sentencing.

She noted he had spent most of his life in custody since 14 years old and had been a chronic drug addict but is now methadone free.

Judge O'Connor said it was an aggravating factor that the premises carried out good work in the community but accepted in relation to burglaries it was at the low end of the scale.

She imposed a one year sentence which she suspended in full and warned Connors that if he did not get help he would spend more time in prison.

Garda Aidan Noonan told Fiona McGowan BL, prosecuting, that an employee at the non profit organisation, which provides educational and social care services to people in disadvantaged areas, found a laptop which she had been using the previous day was missing from her desk.

Gardaí were contacted and viewed CCTV. They were able to identify Connors hanging around and acting suspiciously in the area. He went upstairs and was then seen coming downstairs carrying a laptop bag. He was arrested the following day.

Connors received an eleven year sentence in 2009 for offences including burglary, false imprisonment, robbery and handling stolen property. He was released on September 26, 2015.

Mark Lynam BL, defending, said Connors had spent much of his long sentence on protection and in solitary confinement. He said he struggled and was overwhelmed by anxiety on release, slipping back into drug use. He had hoped to go into residential treatment on release but none was available.

He said Connors was now methadone free and felt if he was released without dealing with his addiction problems he would struggle again. He said Connors wanted to make a change in his life.

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