| 15°C Dublin

Ex-jockey jailed for stealing Paddy's Day reveller's phone

A DUBLIN man who helped a drunken St Patrick's Day reveller when she fell to the ground snatched her mobile phone from her hand without her noticing, a court heard.

Gary O'Brien (27) was stopped by a plainclothes garda who saw him watching the drunken woman as she made her way along College Green.

Judge Victor Blake sentenced O'Brien to four months in prison.

The defendant, of Greencastle Crescent in Coolock, admitted before Dublin District Court to stealing a mobile phone.

The incident took place at Dublin's College Green shortly before 12.30am on March 18 last.

Garda Sergeant Peter Seery said gardai were on plainclothes patrol in the area as part of operations around the St Patrick's Day festival.

The garda noticed a drunk female walking along College Green carrying a mobile phone in her hand.

Sgt Seery said the garda also noticed a male watching her. When the woman fell outside the Londis shop, O'Brien came along and helped her up, but he took the mobile phone from the woman's hand. The garda intervened, stopped O'Brien and recovered the mobile phone.

The court heard that O'Brien has 77 previous convictions.

Defence solicitor Jenny McGeever said O'Brien, a former trainee jockey and stablehand, is an unemployed father of three. She said the defendant went into Mountjoy when he was 20 years old, and developed a significant problem with heroin.

Ms McGeever asked the judge not to send him to jail.

Judge Blake imposed a four-month sentence.