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'Intruder has left our family living in fear'

A YOUNG couple have spoken of their "absolute terror" after an intruder got into their back garden and tried to smash their patio doors with a gas cylinder.

John Stokes (25) claimed he was so out of it on drink and prescription medication that he could not remember the incident.

The owners of the house in Rathfarnham, Kevin and Frances Crean, said they were extremely upset and angry with Stokes, who frightened the life out of them and their four children.

Mrs Crean told Stokes he had changed the way she felt in her own home, a place which should be a sanctuary for her family.


She said she wouldn't stay in the house on her own, is wary of strangers at her door and now had a guard dog.

Stokes apologised to them for what he did, saying he was sorry and he did not know what he was doing.

Judge James McDonnell said that if Stokes was genuinely remorseful he would have admitted the offences and spared Mr and Mrs Crean the "trauma" of giving evidence in court.

The judge fined Stokes €2,000 and sentenced him to 11 months in prison.

The defendant, of Kilcross Court in Sandyford, was found guilty before Tallaght District Court, of criminal trespass and criminal damage.

Mr Crean, his wife and their four children were in bed asleep when the alarm went off shortly before 4am on January 7.

Mr Crean said he went downstairs to turn it off and to check all was well. He turned on the sensor lights, and when he did so he saw Stokes in his back garden.

Mr Crean said Stokes was holding a gas canister, from the barbecue, and he repeatedly threw it at the patio doors.

He caused €2,800 worth of damage. He said Stokes started kicking the doors, and he began roaring at him to stop.

Mrs Crean said she had answered the phone to tell the alarm company it was a false alarm when her husband shouted at her that someone was trying to break in.

She said she would never forget the "horrendous banging' of the gas canister on the patio doors.

Mrs Crean said that when gardai arrested Stokes, she screamed at him, and called him "every name under the sun".

Defence solicitor Kevin Tunney said Stokes, a married father of two, was very sorry for his behaviour, and had no memory of it.