A MAN WHO swiped €10,000 from a handbag that was left momentarily in a car parked near an Enniscorthy school has been handed a jail sentence of threeand-a-half years, despite still maintaining his innocence.
Before Wexford Circuit Court last week was Michael McDonald (42), of 18 The Mall, Clonee, Dublin, who had been found guilty at a previous sitting by a unanimous jury decision of the theft of the money at Summerhill on November 27, 2007. He had seen the money, which was a loan for a new car, being taken from a local bank by a woman, and he followed her until she left the car temporarily to drop one of her children to school. Her other two children were still in the car when the theft took place, and they were very upset by the incident.
Prosecuting Counsel Philip Sheahan told the court that Garda Antoinette Byrne tracked down the defendant, and met him by arrangement at Bray Garda Station. He was arrested there but did not make any admissions in relation to the crime, and in fact denied even being in Enniscorthy on the relevant date.
Mr Sheahan also told the court that none of the money was recovered, but the woman still had to repay the loan in full.
Defence Counsel, Colman Cody BL, said that while the defendant denied the allegation following his arest, he was still co-operative with Garda Byrne and volunteered to be fingerprinted and photographed. During the course of the incident there was no threat or violence, he added. While McDonald had been convicted by the jury, he still maintains his innocence. Mr Cody urged the court to be 'as lenient as possible' in passing sentence.
Judge Hickson said that while there was no evidence that the children were threatened, they still suffered a very upsetting ordeal. The defendant was not just simply driving by, for he had observed the woman for some time and then ' hit the jackpot' with €10,000.
The Judge said he had no option but to impose a custodial sentence. He sentenced the defendant to three and a half years, with the final twelve months suspended, on the defendant entering a bond of €100 euro to keep the peace for two years upon release.
Leave to appeal was refused.