Friday 26 December 2014

Serial burglar left with 17 pellets in his arm as he tried to make getaway

Declan Brennan

Published 31/07/2014 | 18:05

Serial burglar left with 17 pellets in his arm after he tried to make getaway
Serial burglar left with 17 pellets in his arm after he tried to make getaway

A serial burglar who was shot in the arm by the son of an elderly farmer has received a six year sentence with four suspended.

Matthew Fahey (36) was left with 17 pellets in his arm when the homeowner’s son shot him as he tried to make his getaway from the burglary.

Fahey had gone to the 79-year-old farmer’s door and claimed his car had broken down. He later burgled the house after the man had left.

Fahey, previously of Cappagh Road, Finglas, pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to carrying out burglaries at Maryland Farm, Kilsallaghan, Swords, Dublin and at Milrace, Warrenbrook, Rolestown, Swords on April 12, 2012.

He also admitted committing a spate of burglaries and car thefts between January 2010 and April 2012. He has 61 previous convictions, mainly for theft, burglary and stealing cars.

Judge Mary Ellen Ring took into account Fahey’s efforts to address his drug addiction.

Garda Colm Donohoe told Shane Costelloe BL, prosecuting, that Richard Lowndes was at home in Swords when Fahey and a woman came to his door. Fahey said his mother was having car trouble and asked to call a taxi to get back to Dublin.

The farm owner made them tea and they started chatting. After a while Mr Lowndes told the pair he had to go out and asked them to ring for their taxi.

Mr Lowndes later left the house and travelled to Drogheda. His son arrived at the house later again and found it had been broken into and left in a dishevelled state. He then saw tyre tracks leading away from the house across a field and heard noise from that direction.

He followed the noise, confronted Fahey and fired his shotgun at the suspected burglar. That evening Fahey presented himself to a hospital Emergency Department with shotgun injuries. Gardaí were alerted to this and later arrested him.

The burglars took €200 and a Citizen and Seiko watch from the house.  The court heard that Fahey also stole a computer games console, a laptop and jewellery from the house in Warrenbrook while the owners were on holidays.

Vincent Heneghan BL, defending, said his client is a man "bedevilled with drug addiction all his life" but argued that there is hope for him.

He said Fahey took around 17 shotgun pellets in his arm and is in pain to this day.

He is now drug free and has given lectures to school children about the dangers of drugs and addiction, counsel said. He has contacted the Dublin Samaritans about training and assisting others who need help and also wants to go back to college.

"He didn't care about his victims on the day, he didn't treat them with respect but he was riddled with drug abuse," Mr Heneghan said.

Garda Sean Breheny told the court that the victim of the earlier Finglas burglary woke up in the middle of the night to see Fahey using stolen car keys to unlock his daughter's Honda Civic car which was blocking in his own Toyota Land Cruiser car in his driveway.

The victim recognised the burglar and shouted at him: "Fahey, you're robbing my house" and Fahey replied "Go away or I'll kill you". The homeowner ran inside to arm himself while Fahey drove the Honda Civic onto the road and then went back and drove off in the Land Cruiser.

Before stealing the car he had loaded it up with two laptops, one worth over €2,000, a Nikon camera, sunglasses worth US$330 and over €6,00 in cash. None of this property was ever recovered. 

Fahey pleaded guilty to stealing car keys from Derek Burton Garage in Kilpeddar, Co Wicklow on January 29, 2010.

He also pleaded guilty to burgling Ryan’s Garage Main Street, Blanchardstown on August 8, 2010. He drove off in a car left at the premises to be serviced.

Fahey pleaded guilty to further counts of driving a stolen Toyota Corolla and possessing stolen items on July 2, 2011.

He also admitted committing burglary and car theft at Finnebarr Fort, Finglas, Dublin on August 29, 2011.

He pleaded guilty to burgling a Lagan Road business premises on December 12, 2011, during which the owner’s Mercedes Benz and two mobile phones were taken.

He pleaded guilty to two house burglaries in Swords on February 2, 2012. A motorbike and a van were taken.

Fahey committed a number of these offences while on bail after he was charged shortly following his arrest. He was not charged with the burglary from Burton’s Garage until October 2011 and the handling and driving a stolen car charges until February 2012.

He received a six year consecutive term in July 2005 for stealing two vehicles. The final three years of the sentence was suspended but it was re-activated after he offended while on a peace bond.

Det Gda Saunderson agreed with Vincent Heneghan BL, defending, that none of Fahey’s previous convictions were for violent offences and further accepted that they were committed to feed his drug habit.

Judge Ring gave Fahey credit for the 16 months he has spent in custody on this matter and others. She took into account testimonials on behalf of Fahey and accepted he has been addressing his drug addiction since the offences.

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