Monday 24 June 2019

Jail sentence increased for burglar who hit pensioner with hurley

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Ruaidhri Giblin

A violent burglar who broke into the rural home of a cancer-stricken woman and beat her husband with a hurley has had his prison sentence increased.

Carl Freeman (23), of Rossfield Park, Tallaght, Dublin, pleaded guilty to aggravated burglary at the home of William (72) and Kathleen Crean (65) in a rural area near Ashford, Co Wicklow, in the early hours of March 12, 2015.

He was sentenced at Wicklow Circuit Criminal Court to seven years' imprisonment with the final three suspended by Judge Michael O'Shea on July 26, 2017.

The Court of Appeal yesterday found Freeman's sentence to be too lenient on foot of an appeal brought by the Director of Public Prosecutions.

Mr Justice Edwards, who sat with President of the Court of Appeal Mr Justice George Birmingham and Mr Justice John Hedigan, re-sentenced Freeman to 10 years' imprisonment with the final four suspended.

Giving judgment in the three-judge court, Mr Justice John Edwards said Ms Crean had unfortunately been suffering from cancer and kidney failure for some time prior to the violent incident.

At around 3.30am on the night in question, the Creans's dog started barking, which prompted Mr Crean to go downstairs because, he explained: "I knew there was someone or something outside." While he was downstairs, there was a bang, the kitchen door came in and three men entered, each of them armed with a hurley.

Mr Crean retreated to the bedroom and tried to shut the bedroom door but it was pushed in on top of him.

One of the men shouted: "Where is the money? We know you have money" before drawing his hurley and hitting Mr Crean on the shoulder as hard as he could.

Ms Crean described how one intruder told her to sit on the bed before grabbing her by the throat. He then grabbed both her hands and looked at her fingers to see whether she had any rings on. He held his hurley over her legs as if to hit her but Mr Crean pleaded with him: "Don't hit her. She's not well."

While Mr Crean was marched down the hallway, one of the raiders kept on at him about "money, guns, gold and silver" but eventually the intruders left, having taken about €150 in cash.

In her victim impact statement, Ms Crean said she still wakes up at 3am every morning.

She said: "There is no way I will now stay in the house on my own. Since this happened, I don't feel free any more. I am like a prisoner in my own home."

Freeman was 19 at the time of the violent burglary. He had 62 previous convictions.

Irish Independent

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