Tuesday 20 March 2018

Burglar caught storing drugs says he would be ‘better off robbing’

Sonya McLean

A SERIAL burglar told gardai he was be "better off robbing" after he was caught holding heroin and ecstasy for someone else, a court has heard.

Joseph Tyrell (51), a long-term heroin addict, later told gardaí he was allowed smoke some of the heroin in return for minding the drugs.

“I was smoking it constantly,” Tyrell said. “It was like Disneyland.”

“I don’t know why I got into this shit, I was better off robbing,” he continued.

Tyrell was jailed for three and half years after the drugs, worth €35,250, were found hidden under a rabbit hutch on a balcony in the back of a house he was living in at the time.

He was present when the gardaí arrived to search the house but fled and escaped over a back wall when the drugs were discovered. Tyrell was arrested the following day after gardaí searched a second house and found him hiding there.

Sergeant Brian O’Keefe told Martina Baxter BL, prosecuting, that Tyrell took responsibility for the drugs but refused to name who actually owned them.

Tyrell told gardaí the woman who owned the house knew nothing about the drugs and he had pointed out where the drugs could be found. A smaller amount of cocaine was found elsewhere in the house for which he also took responsibility.

He said he had been given the drugs to mind two days previously. The 187 grammes of heroin was worth €28,000, while the 1,450 tablets were worth €7,250.

Tyrell, of Brehon Grove, Kingston Estate, Ballinteer, pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to possession of the drugs for sale or supply on March 10, 2011. The majority of his 34 previous convictions were for burglaries and theft.

Judge Martin Nolan said Tyrell had “a chequered history to say the least” but accepted that he had carried out these crimes to feed his long-standing drug addiction.

He further accepted that he was holding the drugs for a third party in order to get heroin to feed his own addiction.

Judge Nolan took into account Tyrell’s co-operation with the gardaí and admissions before he sentenced him to three and half years.

Sgt O’Keefe agreed with Michael O’Higgins SC, defending, that Tyrell’s long history of criminal offending was directly linked to his heroin addiction.

Mr O’Higgins said his client left school at a very young age and had a sad history.

“He is an essential cog in the wheel without whom the wheel would not turn smoothly if at all,” counsel said but asked Judge Nolan to accept that Tyrell was on the lower rungs of the ladder in the drugs industry.

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