Tuesday 6 December 2016

This is the opportunistic thief who snatched woman's purse in church

Published 17/10/2015 | 18:01

Shane Byrne, Ballyfermot Road, Ballyfermot.
Shane Byrne, Ballyfermot Road, Ballyfermot.

THIS is the opportunistic thief who snatched a purse that a woman had left on a pew in a church.

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Shane Byrne (28) was "very remorseful" for his behaviour, a court heard.

He had written a letter of apology to the victim, the prosecuting garda said.

Judge David McHugh adjourned the matter into the Drugs Court for sentencing in three weeks time.

The defendant, with an address at Ballyfermot Road in Ballyfermot, admitted before Blanchardstown District Court to stealing a purse containing €150 in cash.

The incident, contrary to the theft and fraud offences act, took place at Church of the Annunciation, Cardiffsbridge Road in Finglas on September 20, 2014.

Garda Adrian O'Reilly said that the victim briefly left the purse unattended.

He said that Byrne came into the church, saw the purse, thought there was no one around and picked it up.

The garda said the purse contained €150 in cash, and it was not recovered.

Gda O'Reilly said Byrne had co-operated fully with his investigation and he had admitted to the theft.

The garda said that he contacted Byrne a number of times, and he came down to the garda station to be charged.

Gda O'Reilly also said he believed that Byrne had shown genuine remorse for his behaviour.

The court heard Byrne has 20 previous convictions, including five previous convictions for drug-related matters.

Defence barrister said that Byrne had written a letter of apology to the victim.

She said he also had €150 compensation in court to give to the injured party as a token of his remorse. The barrister said that Byrne has a significant history of drug abuse.

She said the defendant's mother died four years ago and he has not used hard drugs since her death, though he still has a problem with cannabis.

The court also heard that Byrne is doing the Drugs Court programme, and he is 40 days clean. Judge McHugh adjourned the matter into the Drugs Court to allow Byrne continue with his rehabilitation.

Judge McHugh assigned defence solicitor John Feaheny on free legal aid.

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