Sunday 16 June 2019

Man robbed US tourists at Carrowkeel

Sorcha Crowley

A man who robbed American tourists at Carrowkeel of over €9,000 worth of valuables in South Sligo last October has been sentenced to eight months in prison, with the final four months suspended.

Patrick McDonagh (21) of Tara Court, Castlebar and another person were spotted in a red Toyota Avensis by Gardaí at Ash Lane on 2nd of October, the same day the Americans reported that their car had been robbed at the remote scenic spot.

Judge Kevin Kilrane was told at Sligo District Court that Gardaí found €650 in a compartment between the two seats along with charger leads which were positively identified by the tourists.

Sergeant Derek Butler told the court that the Americans spoke to two youths in a Red Avensis near Carrowkeel between 2.30-4pm on the date in question, asking for the best place to park.

They told Gardaí the men appeared to drive away but when they returned from viewing the megalithic tombs the back window of their car was smashed and their valuables robbed: ¤650, $663, credit cards, ruck sack, chargers for a Nikon camera and fitbit, a black lead for downloading pictures from camera to laptop and jewellery worth €8,000.

The court heard McDonagh had no previous convictions. Defence solicitor Mr Tom MacSharry told the court it was a "nasty, nasty offence" but his client had pleaded guilty to handling the stolen property at the first available opportunity.

McDonagh's wife Sarah (24) of the same address also appeared in court charged with handling $663, two chargers and a lead, knowing they were stolen, at Ash Lane.

Her solicitor, Ms Laura Spellman, said she was not at Carrowkeel but when the money was given to her "she knew it was most likely stolen."

She had one previous conviction for theft in 2014.

Judge Kilrane described it as an "absolutely outrageous crime."

"Tourists who come here, renting a car, spending money, they ask directions from this fellow and within a short period of time their car is smashed open and robbed.

Judge Kilrane said he couldn't accept the Probation Report and said imprisonment must follow.

He sentenced McDonagh to eight months in prison, suspending the final four months on condition he not re-offend within three years.

He as also disqualified from driving for three years. He immediately appealed his sentence to the Circuit Court and was released on bail pending appeal.

Ward was sentenced to 240 hours Community Service in lieu of six months in prison.

Sligo Champion