Wednesday 19 December 2018

On-the-run criminal suspect in violent robberies at gated complex for elderly people

Forensic experts pictured at the scene
Forensic experts pictured at the scene
Conor Feehan

Conor Feehan

An on-the-run thug who has served prison sentences for violent robberies is the chief suspect in three aggravated burglaries at a gated complex for the elderly in just four days, Independent.ie can reveal.

The man, who has more than 40 previous convictions, was questioned by detectives at Finglas Garda Station last Sunday about the three raids at the estate on Ballygall Road, Finglas, last month.

The incidents, which saw an 87-year-old tied up, threatened and robbed of his savings while another OAP was savagely beaten, shocked the wider Dublin community.

The suspect has a history of using knives and blades to threaten his victims, some of them young teenagers.

Independent.ie has also learned that the man had been freed from prison on temporary release to attend a drug treatment programme.

However, he absconded and had not returned to prison at the time the shocking crimes against the elderly residents were committed.

He was quizzed on Sunday and a file is being prepared for the Director of Public Prosecutions.

In one attack being investigated an 87-year-old man was awoken in his bed and then bound with cable ties in the early hours of August 28.

He was then threatened at knifepoint as two thugs ransacked his property and escaped with a significant sum of his money.

Minutes earlier, the armed gang targeted a 65-year-old man living at the same gated complex.

He was also threatened before being tied up after the thugs forced their way into his home and demanded money.

It is understood that the pensioner remained tied up for up to three hours before he managed to raise the alarm.

Prescription pills and a small amount of cash were taken in that burglary.

The same vicious crew is suspected of being responsible for another aggravated burglary in the complex on August 24 when a 69-year-old resident suffered fractured ribs after being attacked by a knife-wielding man.

“He answered a knock on the door and was confronted by a lone man armed with a knife, who punched and kicked him black and blue,” a source told the Herald.

“It is suspected he broke his ribs and caused other serious damage to his legs and arms.”

The thug fled with more than €1,000 worth of electronic equipment owned by the victim.

The suspect arrested on Sunday has received a number of prison sentences for serious crimes including robbing a taxi driver at knifepoint more than a decade ago.

The man was later given a five-year sentence for robbing three youngsters at knifepoint, during which they were threatened and left with significant trauma. He had been on bail at the time of the offence.

The previous year, the suspect had received a lengthy prison term for another burglary-related offence.

He is known to have been in trouble with the law from when he was still a child, and has had a drug addiction issue since he was a young teenager.

The shocking attacks on the vulnerable men occurred at a gated estate on Ballygall Road East which is run by Fold Ireland, a housing association specialising in accommodation for elderly people.

Fold Ireland redeveloped the site in recent years to deliver 50 homes and a community hub on the site which used to contain a number of bedsits.

At the time of the burglaries a spokesman for Fold Ireland said it was “appalled and saddened at these attacks against residents”.

The association urged anyone with information regarding the assailants to contact gardai at Santry.

“Additional safety and security measures will now operate at the development day and night for the foreseeable future alongside other enhancements to current security provision,” the Fold Ireland spokesman said.

“We are also providing additional support and advice on personal security to all tenants living at the development,” he added.

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