Sunday 17 November 2019

Elderly man beaten over paltry €50

Dublin Circuit Criminal Court
Dublin Circuit Criminal Court

Ruaidhrí Giblin

A man found guilty of being involved in the 'horrendous' aggravated burglary and robbery of €50 from an 81-year old farmer in rural Fingal has lost an appeal against his conviction.

Adam Marlowe (25) was convicted by a jury after his DNA profile was found on blue latex material found in the home of the elderly farmer who was beaten in his bedroom by three people wearing balaclavas. The material was described as the fingertip of a latex glove.

Marlowe, of Walkinstown Drive, Walkinstown, Dublin had pleaded not guilty to aggravated burglary, robbery of €50 and assaulting Malachy Turley causing him harm at his home in rural north Co Dublin, on July 29, 2016.

He was found guilty on all counts by a jury at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court after less than one hour of deliberations and was sentenced to 12 years imprisonment by Judge Melanie Greally on July 6, 2018.

Marlowe unsuccessfully sought to appeal his conviction on grounds that the trial judge failed to direct the jury to acquit him and erred in the weight he gave forensic evidence in considering that application.

His barrister, Vincent Heneghan SC, told the Court of Appeal that the only piece of evidence linking his client to the crime was the small piece of blue latex recovered from the sheets of the victim's bed.

Mr Heneghan said there were no gloves found in the house and there was no evidence the raiders were wearing gloves.

The court heard that 93% of the DNA found on the fingertip of the latex glove matched Marlowe's DNA profile. There was a 7% contribution from the two other unknown persons.

There was 'absolutely no other evidence whatsoever' and the jury could have only speculated on its origin, Mr Heneghan submitted.

Upholding Marlowe's conviction in the Court of Appeal last week, Mr Justice John Edwards said it was a 'finely balanced case', but the trial judge was correct in his rulings and instructions to the jury.

He said the Court of Appeal was satisfied that Marlowe was sufficiently linked to the crime for the jury to attribute guilt.

There was circumstantial evidence to infer that the material represented the torn fingertip of a latex glove, which was worn by one of the perpetrators, Mr Justice Edwards said.

The victim gave evidence that he had never seen a latex glove before and had no need for one in his house. It was found in his bed, in circumstances where the perpetrators had grabbed hold of his sheets and pulled him to the floor.

The judge said there was evidence Mr Turley's home had been 'ransacked' and numerous items were handled by the perpetrators.

While there were a number of 'contributors' of DNA to the piece of latex, the majority 93% contribution came from a profile matching that of Marlowe.

Mr Justice Edwards, who sat with Ms Justice Isobel Kennedy and Ms Justie Aileen Donnelly, said the court had not seen fit to uphold any grounds of appeal and the case was accordingly dismissed.

Marlowe had 79 previous convictions. He was on bail for two district court offences and was also serving the suspended portion of a sentence imposed for violent disorder, at the time of the burglary.

His previous offences include theft, possession of knives, criminal damage, dangerous driving, use of a mobile phone in prison as well as drugs, road traffic and public order offences.

Mr Turley outlined in a victim impact statement that he suffered bruising to his legs, torso and arms and a deep cut to his hand which required five stitches.

He said he had been 'traumatised' for some months after the events and had increased security measures at his home. He said his confidence and independence had been impacted and he described how it was hard to get back to the way things were.

'I was very lucky in life that everyone I met were good people until I met these three boys,' he said.

Judge Melanie Greally said it was an 'horrendous' offence against an 81-year-old man who was 'isolated, vulnerable and defenceless'.

Fingal Independent