Saturday 21 September 2019

Woman tricked her way into home of dementia sufferer (84) before stealing handbag

Stock picture
Stock picture

Fiona Ferguson

A woman who tricked her way into the home of a 84-year-old dementia sufferer has been given a three year sentence for burglary.

Alice Connors (46), of Kiltalown Path, Tallaght, Dubllin, pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to burglary at the woman's home in Newcastle, Co Dublin on March 14, 2017.

The court heard Connors has 98 previous convictions, including 20 for burglaries.

Her co-accused, Margaret Cawley (27), last month received a three year sentence for her role.

Garda Brendan O'Brien told Fiona McGowan BL, prosecuting, that the homeowner, who was in the early stages of dementia, was being visited by her 75-year-old sister when there was a knock to the door.

Her sister answered the door to two women who had a child with them. They asked to see the homeowner and brushed past her into the sitting room. Cawley offered to make tea and went to the kitchen where she stole one of the women's handbags from a walking aid.

The second victim's handbag was taken from the sitting room before the women left.

A neighbour managed to get the registration plate of the maroon car they left the area in. Further witnesses observed two bags being thrown from the car as it drove erratically on the Nangor Road.

Gardai encountered the car and there was a short chase before it came to a stop at a Topaz station.

The women were arrested and a walking stick taken in the burglary was recovered from the car.

A victim impact statement prepared by the 75-year-old woman, on behalf of her and her sister, was handed into court and read by the judge.

Marc Thompson BL, defending, said his client had been using drugs at the time but recent tests taken in custody have been negative. He said she was remorseful and apologetic.

He submitted that a bereavement 14 years ago had pushed her down the road of drug use.

Judge Martin Nolan said Connors had taken advantage of the two victims. He noted no violence had been used, describing it as “a crime of stealth.” He said the victim impact statement revealed the women's peace of mind had been undermined.

He said Connors was attempting to reform and noted reports from the prison were optimistic.

Judge Nolan imposed three years imprisonment with credit to be given for time she has spent in custody on this charge alone.

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