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Thief back in jail for robbing same man (72)

A MAN is to be jailed for trying to rob a 72-year-old man in his home, three years after he was put behind bars for robbing the same man.

Dublin Circuit Criminal Court heard that Peter Cruise (25) had previously been given a six-year sentence for breaking into the man's home but had the last three years suspended. He told gardai he targeted the man again because he "wanted to get noticed".

The victim told Judge Frank O'Donnell that when the victim saw Cruise in his house again he could not breathe and thought he had come to kill him.

Cruise, of North Strand, Drogheda, Co Louth, pleaded guilty to burglary while armed with an iron bar at the victim's house in Lusk, Co Dublin, on May 24, 2009. He is also due to have the remaining three years of his previous sentence reactivated.

Judge O'Donnell remanded him in custody until July and indicated it is inevitable he will receive a jail sentence.

Garda Barry Griffin told prosecuting counsel, Anne Marie Lawlor, that the pensioner was in his home, sitting down to watch television when he saw a shadow out the back.

Cruise entered the house armed with a rusty iron bar. He banged it on the ground and repeatedly shouted, "give me the money".

The victim became weak and started "begging for mercy and pleading for his life". On seeing how distressed his victim was, Cruise put down the iron bar and walked out, saying "you can phone the gardai".

Gardai and an ambulance arrived but the pensioner refused to go to hospital. Cruise handed himself in shortly afterwards and made full admissions.

He told gardai he had done it because he "was struggling and wanted to get noticed". He said when he saw the victim was struggling to breathe he panicked and fled.

"I started to shake and had difficulty breathing," the pensioner told the court. "All I could think was, is he going to kill me this time?"

"Even writing this report is very upsetting. How can I feel safe in my own home?"

Defence counsel Sean Gillane said Cruise has serious alcohol problems.

He submitted that he had handed himself over to gardai and cooperated fully.