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Killer's sister sobs as she's jailed for fraud

A SISTER of a convicted murderer has been jailed for two years for selling illegal cigarettes at a city market -- despite her tearful pleas to a judge.

Carol Collopy (51) was saved from having to begin her jail sentence last night and has until tomorrow to make arrangements for the care of her 10-year-old daughter.


Judge Carroll Moran at Limerick Circuit Criminal Court, said he had no alternative but to impose a prison sentence after Collopy -- a divorced mother who operated a stall at Limerick's Milk Market -- was caught selling cartons of cigarettes without excise duty paid to undercover Customs officers.

Collopy, of Danesfort, Corbally, Limerick, admitted possession of nearly 37,000 cigarettes worth €16,634, which resulted in the loss of €10,656 to the Exchequer in 2009. Judge Moran noted yesterday that this was not the first time she had committed this type of offence.

In 2005, she was also prosecuted after attempting to evade excise duty on cigarettes at both Dublin and Shannon airports.

The judge said her activities were a threat to the State's collection of revenue.

Collopy immediately broke down crying after the judge passed a two-year prison sentence and cried that she had no one to look after her daughter if she was locked up. She pleaded to both the judge and Limerick State Solicitor, Michael Murray not to jail her.

"I promise I won't come before the courts again. My daughter really needs her mum. Please, I'm begging you, I can't go to prison," she sobbed.

Collopy had to be escorted from the courtroom by prison staff while Judge Moran rose to consider the matter.


Subsequently, the judge agreed the sentence would not have to begin until tomorrow so that Collopy could make arrangements for her daughter. She will join her brother and nephew in prison.

Collopy is the sister of Ray Casey who died in prison in 2009 after he murdered Limerick barman Noel Pyper in 1997. Another of Collopy's brothers, Edward Casey, was sentenced to 11 years jail for the aggravated sexual assault of a 23-year-old woman in Galway on September 30, 2004.

Her nephew -- Edward's son -- Stephen O'Sullivan murdered Mark Moloney in Limerick's criminal feud in 2008.

Speaking after yesterday's sentence, the Retailers Against Smuggling organisation welcomed Collopy's jailing.

"This woman is a serial re-offender who already had a number of convictions for cigarette smuggling and we welcome the judge's decision to jail her.

"We feel justice has been done and that the conviction vindicates Revenue & Customs' hard work in catching this criminal," a spokesman said.