Monday 19 August 2019

Pensioner (76) chases thief who stole her handbag

Judge James McCourt paid tribute to Sheila O’Mahony (76) as “a strong and robust individual” as he jailed Philip Murphy (49) for 18 months. Stock photo: Depositphotos
Judge James McCourt paid tribute to Sheila O’Mahony (76) as “a strong and robust individual” as he jailed Philip Murphy (49) for 18 months. Stock photo: Depositphotos

Ralph Riegel

A 76-year-old woman with a heart condition chased down a thief in a shopping centre after he stole her handbag containing €400, her credit cards and irreplaceable family mementos.

Judge James McCourt paid tribute to Sheila O'Mahony (76) as "a strong and robust individual" as he jailed Philip Murphy (49) for 18 months.

Murphy, of Orchard Court, Blackpool, Cork, had denied two counts of theft and assault to Ms O'Mahony at Tesco Shopping Centre in Wilton on September 15, 2018.

A Cork Circuit Criminal Court jury convicted him of the theft charge, but found him not guilty on the common assault charge.

Detective Garda James Bugler said Murphy has 107 previous convictions and is "a career criminal".

The court heard that Ms O'Mahony was shopping with her sister on September 15.

The pensioner spotted her handbag containing cash, her heart medication and priceless family mementos suddenly being snatched from her trolley.

"He ran down the aisle. I did not give chase that way. I went the other way towards the (shopping centre) door," she said.

The pensioner then grabbed Murphy by the sleeve as he came near her - and a security officer detained him until gardaí arrived.

As Murphy was being held, a lady's handbag fell out from underneath his coat.

Ms O'Mahony dismissed suggestions from Murphy's defence team that she had pushed the 49-year-old during the incident.

"How could I, a 76-year-old woman, push a young man like that and I with a heart complaint?" she said.

Murphy was handed a prison sentence last month after attempting to grab a handbag from a baby's pram as a young mother was in the English Market in Cork city centre.

Murphy's previous convictions include 22 burglaries and 28 thefts.

The 49-year-old was on bail when he tried to steal Ms O'Mahony's handbag.

Judge McCourt noted that Murphy displayed not one ounce of remorse.

Irish Independent

Editor's Choice

Also in Irish News