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Burglar jailed for break-in at Shatter's home

A BURGLAR who broke into the home of Justice Minister Alan Shatter while on bail has received a three-year jail sentence.

Darragh Heavey (26) was arrested shortly after the break-in when gardai stopped him and matched his shoes with muddy footprints found inside Mr Shatter's home.

Heavey, of Moeran Road, Walkinstown, Dublin, pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to burglary at Delbrook Manor, Ballinteer, on March 18, 2012.

He was caught in possession of a sawn-off shotgun and shotgun cartridges under suspicious circumstances on March 16, 2011. He was charged two days later and pleaded guilty to the charge on March 3, 2012. He was granted bail and carried out the burglary on the minister's house 15 days later.

Judge Mary Ellen Ring imposed a three-year jail term but suspended the last 18 months on the condition that Heavey keep the peace for two years after his release.

The sentence must be consecutive to the sentence currently being served by Heavey because he was on bail when he committed this offence.

Detective Sergeant Eugene Stapleton told the court that the minister's house was unoccupied at the time and that it was a random burglary.

Mr Shatter and his wife were abroad on Government business.

He said that Garda Olivia Hawkes was on patrol in the area when she heard an external house alarm and was informed by the local station that an alert had been received from a house on Delbrook Manor. She met a neighbour who is a keyholder to the minister's house and they entered the house.

An alarm panel had been ripped off the wall and a kitchen window had been forced open and damaged. Gardai found mucky footprints with a distinctive pattern.

Shortly afterwards, gardai stopped Heavey at a nearby parkway and asked to see the soles of his shoes. The soles had the same pattern as the footprints and gardai arrested Heavey. During a search of the area around the minister's home, gardai found two watches, a bag of US coins, gardening gloves, a mini-crowbar and two screwdrivers.

Mr Shatter told gardai they were his watches. He said the bag of loose change was as a result of trips to the United States.

MEDIOCRE

After garda interviews Heavey admitted carrying out the burglary.

He told gardai: "It was unprofessional, mediocre and downright stupid. It was a reckless action through impaired judgement on my part."

He said he was abusing the drug Zimovane at the time. He also told gardai he was involved with coaching at a youth boxing club.

Heavey has 20 previous convictions including trespass, burglary, car theft, assault and handling stolen goods.

On July 7, 2012, he was sentenced at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to four years with 18 months suspended for the firearms offences committed in March 2011.

hnews@herald.ie


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