| 10.4°C Dublin

Thief 'used his illness' to rob purse

A man suffering from Parkinson's disease used his illness as a "gimmick" to steal a young woman's purse in Starbucks on Dawson Street.

The victim was sitting in the city centre coffee shop with a friend when the theft occurred, a court heard.

Peter Sheridan (35) fell at a table where the woman and her friend were sitting and took her purse, which was on the table. A judge said that Sheridan's crime took more "guile" than the medical reports on his illness suggested he was capable of.

The defendant, with an address at Sean McDermott Street, Dublin 1, admitted before Dublin District Court to a charge of theft.

The incident took place at Starbucks on Dawson Street on August 16, 2009.

A court heard that Sheridan took the woman's purse, which contained various bank cards and €40 in cash.

Defence lawyer said Sheridan suffered from Parkinson's disease, after receiving a head injury following an accident a number of years ago.


A number of medical reports, including a report from Headway, which helps people with brain injuries, were handed into the court.

Judge Patrick McMahon said he could only feel for the victim who was sitting with a friend having a coffee when Sheridan fell over the table and she lost "her wallet, cards, everything".

The judge sentenced Sheridan to six months in prison and he fixed recognisances in the event of an appeal.

Sheridan, who is seriously ill, had to be helped into custody by prison officers.