Sunday 15 September 2019

Single mum (30) jailed for impersonating garda during burglary of pensioner

Anne-Marie Byrne (30) posed as a garda to gain access to a pensioner's home
Anne-Marie Byrne (30) posed as a garda to gain access to a pensioner's home

Conor Gallagher

A woman who burgled an elderly man's home with an accomplice posing as a garda has been jailed for three and a half years.

Anne-Marie Byrne (30) was also jailed for two robberies of video stores committed within a day of each other.

Byrne of Kincora Road, Clontarf, Dublin pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to burglary of Joseph Rowe's home in Sutton on January 24, 2011. She also pleaded guilty to separate robberies at Xtravision in Ongar Village on April 6, 2013 and Xtravision at Blanchardstown Shopping Centre on April 7.

Garda Brian Murphy told prosecuting counsel Fiona McGowan BL, that the 76-year-old victim was home alone when at 10.45pm, Byrne knocked on his door.

He said Byrne asked Mr Rowe could she come into the house and once she got inside her attitude changed. A second knock came at the door and two men, one dressed as a garda, were there.

The man dressed as a garda showed Mr Rowe identification which he took as genuine. One of the men ran upstairs and Byrne followed him while the man posing as a garda waited downstairs with Mr Rowe.

The man and Byrne returned from upstairs and the group said they have to go as “something else has come up,” and left.

Mr Rowe looked out his front door and saw them leave in his Toyota Yaris. He rang Raheny Garda Station to report the incident and realised several days later that money had also been taken from his house in the form of €50 in €2 coins, £30 sterling and a €50 note.

The car was found later in Kilbarrack. A plastic bag containing an official garda ID card, a wallet and a garda hat was also recovered by investigators.

Byrne told gardaí that they had planned to go to his house looking for money to buy drugs. She has 12 previous convictions.

During the Xtravision robberies she wore a balaclava and guarded the door of two video shops while two men robbed money and an iPhone. They left the video stores in a stolen car which gardaí later spotted outside a shop in West Dublin.

The driver of the car rammed the patrol car to escape. Byrne was a front seat passenger.

They were arrested later and Byrne admitted both robberies saying the men told her “to put on a balaclava and hold the door to stop people coming into the shops.” She said she was given a screwdriver to hold.

The court heard that Byrne received €200 out of the total amount of €1,300 stolen in the two shop robberies and she spent this on drugs.

Defence counsel Martina Baxter BL said Byrne was a single mum who had been using drugs for the past ten years but was now on a methadone programme.

Judge Mary Ellen Ring imposed a two year sentence for the burglary and 18 months for the video shop robberies and ordered that they be served consecutively.

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