A THIEF with nearly 200 previous convictions was on temporary release from prison when she was caught on camera trying to break into a Mid Cork home.
Bridget O'Sullivan (35) of Apartment 1A 383 Blarney St, Cork appeared in Macroom District Court charged with the attempted burglary of a house at Kilgobnet, Clondrohid, Macroom.
Inspector Ger Lacey told the court that on Saturday, November 17 last the defendant took the bus from Cork to Clondrohid, walked to the back of a house and smashed a pane of glass with a rock. She then put on gloves and tried, but failed, to gain access to the premises.
Unbeknownst to Ms O'Sullivan, the whole incident was captured on the homeowner's CCTV system and she was subsequently arrested by gardai.
Judge James McNulty heard that the defendant, who had 190 previous convictions, was given a three year prison sentence at Cork Circuit Court last year, and that the final year of the sentence was suspended.
She had been on day release for five days on the day of the incident, having been deemed fit for community return by the Probation Services. Her solicitor said Ms O'Sullivan was from a disadvantaged background but had been "doing very well", according to her probation officers.
"It is almost incomprehensible to me that someone serving a sentence, doing well with the probation services and impressing them with a change in her attitude to such an extent that she gets temporary release can reoffend within five days," Judge McNulty said.
He added that the crime was not a moment of madness and required forethought on her part.
"If not for this person's CCTV it would have been another unsolved rural crime by robbers from the city coming to West Cork to rob and thieve," he said.
Judge McNulty said it was his intention to impose an 11 month prison sentence on Ms O'Sullivan, but that he was precluded from doing so. The defendant was remanded in custody to appear in Cork Circuit Criminal Court on December 3 next, where the third suspended year of her sentence may be activated.
Ms O'Sullivan will return to Macroom Court for sentencing on January 2, 2013.
Judge McNulty commended both the gardai and homeowner for their work in detecting the offense.