Saturday 16 December 2017

Three year sentence for burglar of Alan Shatter's house

Declan Brennan

A BURGLAR who broke into the home of Justice Minister Alan Shatter while on bail has received a three year jail sentence.

Darragh Heavey (26) was arrested shortly after the break-in when gardai stopped him and matched his shoes with muddy footprints found inside Mr Shatter's home.

Heavey of Moeran Road, Walkinstown, Dublin pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to burglary at Delbrook Manor, Ballinteer on March 18, 2012.

Heavey was caught in possession of a sawn off shotgun and shotgun cartridges under suspicious circumstances on March, 16. 2011.

He was charged two days later and pleaded guilty to the charge on March 3, 2012 . Heavey was granted bail. He carried out the burglary on the minister's house 15 days later.

Judge Mary Ellen Ring imposed a three year jail term but suspended the last 18 months on the condition that Heavey keep the peace for two years after his release. The sentence must be consecutive to the sentence currently being served by Heavey because he was on bail when he committed this offence.

Detective Sergeant Eugene Stapleton told the court that the minister’s house was unoccupied at the time and that it was a random burglary. Mr Shatter and his wife were abroad on Government business.

He said that Garda Olivia Hawkes was on patrol in the area when she heard an external house alarm and was informed by the local station that an alert had been received from a house on Delbrook Manor.

She met with a neighbour who is a key holder to the minister's house and they entered the house. An alarm panel had been ripped off the wall and a kitchen window had been forced open and damaged.

Gardai found mucky foot prints with a distinctive pattern. Shortly afterwards gardai stopped Heavey at a nearby parkway and asked to see the soles of his shoes. The soles had the same pattern as the footprints and gardai arrested Heavey.

During a search of the area around the minister's home gardai found two watches, a bag of US coins, gardening gloves, a mini-crowbar and two screwdrivers.

Mr Shatter told gardai they were his watches. He said that he had purchased one of them abroad many years ago for €20 and his late father-in-law had given him the second, a Seiko watch which he valued at around €60.

He said the bag of loose change was as a result of trips to the United States.

After using his right to silence during four garda interviews Heavey admitted carrying out the burglary. He told gardai: “It was unprofessional, mediocre and down right stupid. It was a reckless action through impaired judgement on my part”

He said he was abusing the drug Zimovane at the time and living a reclusive lifestyle. He also told gardai he was involved with coaching at a youth boxing club.

Heavey has 20 previous convictions including trespass, burglary, car theft, assault and handling stolen goods. On July 7, 2012 he was sentenced at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to four years with 18 months suspended for the firearms offenses committed in March 2011.

Sgt Stapleton told Laurence Baxter BL, defending, that when the burglar was told who the owner of the house was, Heavey replied: “Who's that?”

Mr Baxter said his client was abusing Zimovane but is clean at the moment and is taking Prozac while in custody. 

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