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Burglar hit sleeping man with hammer

A MAN who broke into a young mother's home and hit her sleeping partner with a hammer while his accomplice held a knife to their toddler has been given an eight-year jail sentence.

Keith Fay (30) of Clonliffe Road, Drumcondra, also received a three-year concurrent term for unrelated offences of burglary and attempted burglary.

Fay struck Phuong Nguyen on the knee with the hammer after he forced Jennifer O'Leary to show him the house safe in the master bedroom.

He had already bundled electrical items, including laptops and a plasma TV, into a duvet and removed them from the house before returning for the contents of other rooms and the safe.

He and a second intruder had broken into Ms O'Leary's home as she slept on the couch with her two-week-old baby.

This second intruder held a knife to the couple's toddler, who had also been asleep on the master bed, and threatened to kill the child if Mr Nguyen didn't open the safe.

Ms O'Leary told gardai that the second man stabbed her in the arm in a subsequent fracas involving her partner, her partner's sister from next door and the two intruders. Fay escaped after a brief struggle but the house occupants managed to hold his accomplice until gardai arrived.

This man has since elected for trial later in the year.

Fay, who has 48 previous convictions including two robberies and nine burglaries, pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to aggravated burglary at the couple's home in Clarehall on February 22, 2008.

He also pleaded guilty to four burglaries and an attempted burglary of houses at Templeview Close, Clarehall, on June 25, 2008.

Judge Katherine Delahunt suspended the last two years of the sentence. She said she took into consideration his pleas of guilty which she said prevented the family having to "relive the awfulness of the night" through giving evidence in the case.