Monday 17 June 2019

Man jailed for 'horrendous' rural burglary

Victim aged 81 was 'isolated, vulnerable and defenceless'

A man convicted of involvement in the 'horrendous' aggravated burglary, assault and robbery of an 81-year old farmer in rural north Co Dublin has been jailed for 12 years.

Adam Marlowe (24) was convicted by a jury after his DNA profile was found on blue latex material located 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.

After a four day trial at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court, a jury returned guilty verdicts on all three counts following less than one hours deliberation.

The court heard that Marlowe maintains his innocence.

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

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 read to the court 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 described how it was hard to get back to the way things were. He said he was more paranoid now and wary of visitors and callers.

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

Mr Turley's statement to gardai was read into evidence during the trial pursuant to section 21 of the Criminal Justice Act 1984 and he did not have to give evidence from the witness box.

Judge Melanie Greally said the case had been contested on a very narrow basis but the jury were satisfied that Marlowe was one of the men involved and he was ultimately convicted on the basis of DNA evidence.

She said Mr Turley had been living a solitary existence in an isolated cottage, faring well and attending to all his needs. She said his victim impact statement showed remarkable stoicism.

She noted he said it would be hard to get his life back to the way it was and she commented that it might be nearly impossible for someone of his age to regain their sense of safety in their own home.

She said the aggravating aspects in these 'horrendous' offences were that they were premeditated and pre-planned crimes against an 81 year old man who was 'isolated, vulnerable and defenceless'.

Judge Greally noted the men had been armed with weapons of varying degrees with which Mr Turley had been struck and threatened to the point of losing consciousness.

She gave Marlowe credit for the fact that he was a young man who had a challenging upbringing marked by violence and drug abuse with very little in the way of positive role models. She noted he was now in a stable relationship and had a two year old child.

She said his previous offending appeared to be related in some measure to his drug addiction.

Judge Greally said the aggravated burglary merited a headline sentence of 15 years but taking into account the mitigating factors she reduced this to 12 years imprisonment.

A sample of DNA taken from Marlowe was found to match the profile of a sample taken from the blue latex material. The court heard 93% of the DNA taken from the latex matched his profile.

Vincent Heneghan SC, defending, asked that Marlowe be given some credit that he did not require the injured party to give evidence from the witness box and relive the events in that manner.

Mr Heneghan said Marlowe had a 'very challenging upbringing; in a dysfunctional family where domestic and substance abuse were present. He said Marlowe had distanced himself from his family and the only brightness in his life were his partner and child.

Fingal Independent