A 21-year-old woman has had to live with locks and bolts on her bedroom door since the night she awoke to find two masked burglars at the foot of her bed, a court heard yesterday.
Kerrie Grainger was awarded €25,000 damages in the Circuit Civil Court against one of the burglars, Dubliner Simon O'Connor, for emotional stress, assault and trespass.
Barrister Conor Gallagher said Ms Grainger's 30-year-old sister, Caroline Grainger, had been awarded €25,000 in July last year against O'Connor, who was said to have an interest in a property.
He told Circuit Court President, Mr Justice Matthew Deery, that the Grainger household, home of publican Mark Grainger, of St Helen's, Station Road, Portmarnock, Co Dublin, had been broken into on March 7, 2004 and the raiders had asked the girls where the safe was kept. Mr Gallagher, who appeared with James Loomes for Kerrie Grainger, said O'Connor, of Clanawley Road, Donnycarney, Dublin, and another man had pleaded guilty in the criminal courts to assault in the course of a robbery, and had been sentenced to six years.
O'Connor was currently serving a jail sentence in a Northern Ireland prison and had not entered any defence in either claim taken against him by the Grainger sisters.
No claim had been instigated against the other burglar. Ms Grainger said she at first pulled the bedclothes over her head while the two men ransacked her bedroom in a search for money and jewellery.
She said they had told her they would hurt her if she screamed or if she left her room after they did. They had gone into her sister Caroline's and also searched it.
The court heard the burglars had spent about half-an-hour rifling the rooms and had taken about €500 and some jewellery. They had ransacked the kitchen and had broken the back door.
Ms Grainger, who was only 14 at the time, said she could not sleep in her room afterwards for weeks and had slept in her parents' bedroom.
She had locks and bolts fitted to the door and was still frightened of something happening at night.