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Elderly nun woke up to find men ransacking her bedroom

A Dublin man who ransacked an elderly nun's room while she was in her bed has been given a six-year jail sentence.

The last 18 months were suspended.

Detective Garda Garret Lynch revealed that Stephen Wilson (34) and a second intruder ransacked Sr Mary O'Farrell's bedroom before taking items and her handbag.

The nun, in her mid-70s, tried to press a buzzer underneath her pillow for help but one of the intruders pulled it from her grasp.


Wilson, of Shancastle Drive, Clondalkin, pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to burgling Sr Farrell's room at Shalom Presentation Convent, Kilcock, Co Kildare, and to unlawful carriage in a stolen Hyundai Montana minibus on Fonthill Road at the Liffey Valley M4 exit, both on February 17, 2009.

Wilson, a drug addict, has 72 previous convictions for similar offences going back to 1989, including burglary, trespass, interfering with vehicles, unauthorised taking, dangerous driving and unlawful carriage.

Judge Katherine Delahunt said the bedroom burglary "cannot but shock anybody who has heard the evidence" and said the father-of-one posed "a considerable threat to society at large".

Det Garda Lynch told the court that the Shalom Presentation Convent acts as a nursing home for elderly nuns.

He said he encountered Wilson and the other culprit in a Hyundai minibus being driven in "an aggressive and dangerous manner" along the M4 Eastbound a short time after the burglary.

He said he had been on patrol in an unmarked car and driving down the motorway when he spotted the stolen vehicle with Wilson in the front passenger seat.

The other man then led Det Garda Lynch's car and another garda car on a five-minute chase, colliding six times with other vehicles before the minibus was written off.

Gardai chased the two culprits on foot when their stolen Hyundai came to a stop and then arrested them close by.

Det Garda Lynch saw Wilson discarding a green handbag as he fled the scene before his arrest.

He said he later identified Wilson on the convent's CCTV by his clothes.


Wilson made no admissions to the crimes the following day during interview after spending a night at Tallaght Hospital to make sure he had sustained no head injuries from the various car crashes on the M4.

Det Garda Lynch said three cars had been "substantially damaged" during these collisions.

The detective garda agreed with James Dwyer, defending, that his client is a drug addict who was on a "drug-related spree" with his associate at the time of the offences.

Mr Dwyer said his client had started getting "in trouble" from the age of 13, that he spent two years at a facility for young offenders and came out a drug addict.