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Mum's fear as burglar held knife to toddler

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 will be sentenced later for aggravated burglary.

Keith Fay (30) of Clonliffe Road, Dublin 3, is also due for sentence on other unrelated offences of burglary and attempted burglary.

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


He had already bundled a number of electrical items, including two laptops and a plasma TV, into a duvet and removed them from the house, before returning for more items 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, pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to aggravated burglary at the Temple Street Close home in Clarehall on February 22, 2008.

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

Ms O'Leary told Michael Bowman, prosecuting, that her four children had been "damaged" by the violent incident.

Fay denied he threatened Ms O'Leary or her children and claimed her partner had produced a meat cleaver when he opened the safe and used this to wound the accomplice burglar.

Detective Garda Brendan Mears confirmed gardai found no meat cleaver at the scene.

Fay apologised to his victims through Padraig Dwyer, defending, who said Fay had grown up in a physically and sexually abusive environment.

The matter was adjourned to February.