Sunday 22 April 2018

Father-of-one stole priest's car after walking into his house while it was being repainted

The Courts of Criminal Justice
The Courts of Criminal Justice

Aoife Nic Ardghail

A Dublin father-of-one stole a priest's car and fitted it with fake registration plates made to match tax and insurance discs he took from an identical vehicle, a court has heard.

Kevin O'Keeffe (30) had been on bail for false imprisonment when he spotted the door of the curate's home open while it was being repainted, walked in and stole keys to a Toyota Avensis.

A few weeks later he smashed the window of an identical vehicle and stole a Sat Nav and tax, insurance and NCT discs from the vehicle.

O'Keeffe, of North Circular Road, pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to theft of car keys and unlawful possession of a vehicle at St Laurence O'Toole Church, Seagrange Road, Baldoyle on July 23, 2013.

He further pleaded guilty to criminal damage and stealing property at Central Park, Leopardstown Road, Baldoyle on August 2, 2013.

O'Keeffe has 86 previous convictions and committed these offences while on bail for a false imprisonment crime. Judge Martin Nolan imposed a 18 month sentence which will begin when the five year sentence he is serving for the false imprisonment expires.

Garda Rory O'Mara told Anne-Marie Lawlor BL, prosecuting, that he and colleagues located the curate's car with plates made up to match the other stolen discs in Clondalkin on August 22, 2013.

He said the curate had been reading in his office when he heard “quiet footsteps” in the hallway and saw O'Keeffe's face at the door.

O'Keeffe asked him: “What needs to be painted in here?”. He left the room and a while later the priest realised his car keys had been taken.

Gda O'Mara said fingerprint analysis on the car after it was found matched those of O'Keeffe.

He was arrested and interviewed in custody while serving his other sentence and he made full admissions.

O'Keeffe revealed he had driven the car with the false plates and stolen discs for a time before it went missing from where he had parked it in Clondalkin. Gda O'Mara agreed with Sandra Frayne BL, defending, that her client was fully co-operative.

Ms Frayne submitted to Judge Martin Nolan that O'Keeffe was remorseful and making efforts to get off drugs.

Judge Nolan said he was happy that O'Keeffe was taking steps to reform himself while in custody but added that he had to impose a custodial sentence because of the criminal record.

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