Saturday 23 November 2019

Serial burglar has sentencing delayed until after his birthday

Sonya McLean and Jessica Magee

A judge has allowed a serial burglar to have his sentence delayed until after his birthday, but warned him not to celebrate “too much”.

Judge Mary Ellen Ring told Darren Coffey (35) to continue cooperating with probation officers and with FÁS services for three months before she hands down a sentence for burglary in October.

When Coffey pointed out that his birthday would be on October 28th, Judge Ring asked whether it would be better for him to be sentenced before or after.

Coffey replied after, so Judge Ring remanded him on continuing bail for sentence on October 31, next.

“Just don't celebrate too much, and continue on the path you are on, because otherwise we will fall out, Mr Coffey,” she advised. The judge had previously adjourned the case to today to allow for a report from the Probation Service.

When the evidence was first heard last April, Judge Ring warned Coffey, who has 80 previous convictions for burglary, that he is now in a dangerous profession after recent changes in legislation.

She said it was only a matter of time before someone like him walks into a residence and is seriously injured or killed, as there may be an armed homeowner waiting on the other side of that “inviting balcony”.

Coffey, with an address at Judge Darley’s Hostel, pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to burglary at Blackhall Place, Dublin 7 on February 17, 2012. He has 121 previous convictions in total which also include offences for criminal damage, public order and assault.

Michael Bowman BL, defending, told the court that his client has not come to any garda attention since this burglary.

He said Coffey had an appointment to see a psychiatrist and was attending FÁS and other services four days a week.

He said Coffey and is partner are currently living in a hostel but that she is optimistic of getting a house soon, having been on a housing list for six years.

Mr Bowman described his client as having a “sunny disposition” due to the pride he has in dealing with his drug and alcohol addictions.

The judge had earlier noted that many of Coffey’s burglary convictions included towns in Cork, Kerry, Tipperary and Waterford. She was advised by counsel that his client is originally from Cork.

Garda Catherine Ferry told Noel Devitt BL, prosecuting, that the home-owners in Blackhall Place, a boyfriend and girlfriend, had been woken by a sound in their apartment and saw a man carrying a laptop and other computer equipment.

The man jumped on Coffey and wrestled with him. The scuffle continued into the hallway when the woman got involved. The couple tried to hold onto Coffey by grabbing his clothing but he managed to escape.

Gda Ferry said when she arrived at the apartment at 3.20am the couple were “visibly upset”.

They then got in a garda patrol car to assist gardaí in looking around the local area for Coffey and spotted him on North Brunswick Street where he was arrested.

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