Tallaght man described as “menace to society” handed five year sentence for terrifying burglary

Tallaght man described as “menace to society” handed five year sentence for terrifying burglary

By Fiona Ferguson

A “menace to society” who took part in a burglary which left a 77-year-old Dublin woman traumatised and unable to continue living in her own home has been given an five year sentence

Dublin Circuit Criminal Court heard that Carl Freeman (22) was yesterday sentenced to seven years with three years suspended at Wicklow Circuit Court in relation to an aggravated burglary in Co Wicklow that was committed two hours after the Dublin burglary.

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Freeman has 62 previous convictions for offences including dangerous driving, endangerment, burglary, assault, and unlawful taking of a car.

The court heard the elderly woman was left severely traumatised and terrified. She was afraid she was going to be killed and indicated she would never live on her own again. She never returned to the house and now lives with her daughter.

Freeman, of Rossfield Park, Tallaght, Dublin pleaded guilty to burglary at the woman's home in Tallaght on March 12, 2013.

Judge Martin Nolan noted the long term consequences for the victim had been very serious.

He said elderly people were entitled to protection and people who commit these offences were entitled to know they would receive long sentences.

Judge Nolan said Freeman had committed some serious offences and had been a “menace to society” for a couple of years. He imposed five years imprisonment which he backdated to January.

Detective Garda Kieran Kilcoyne told Diarmuid Collins BL, prosecuting, that the woman, who was living alone after the death of her husband, was in bed at about 2am when she heard a loud bang.

She heard male voices and two sets of footsteps coming up the stairs. A man came into her bedroom and said to his accomplice: “She is here, I have her.” The woman was told “Go asleep, we are not going to hurt you” and the man put a gloved hand over her face to stop her getting up.

The man, who had a hurl with him, demanded money from her and she told him it was in her handbag on the floor. He demanded to know where her jewellery was and told her to take off her engagement ring, wedding ring and watch.

She handed these over to the man and could hear loud noises coming from other parts of the house.

The men asked for her phone and then told her not to get up for half an hour. She waited for ten minutes after they left then crept down the stairs. Other items stolen from the house included a jewellery box containing chains, bracelets and a locket, cash, a flat screen TV and documentation.

Det Gda Kilcoyne said it was not clear how the men gained access to the house.

He said a neighbour spotted the burglars leaving the area at speed in a stolen Audi A4.

An off duty garda driving home from a night shift the following morning spotted the car when it pulled up beside him in traffic. He alerted his colleagues and followed the car until they arrived.

The Audi A4, which was driven by Freeman, failed to stop and was pursued by gardai. When the car was stopped items related to this burglary were found. A number of children’s hurls were also found and the car owner later confirmed they were in the car when it was stolen.

Garrett McCormack BL, defending, asked Det Gda Kilcoyne if he had been made aware that Freeman claimed he was not inside the house during the burglary and had been outside in the car.

Det Gda Kilcoyne said he had been made aware of it but that did not mean he agreed with it.

Mr McCormack said Freeman offered an apology to the woman and asked the court to take into account that the guilty plea had been of real benefit to her.

Counsel handed in a number of letters from Freeman’s family which show they are supportive of him and outline difficulties in his upbringing. He said his client had a history of drug abuse and suffered from ADHD. He said Freeman has been using his time in custody productively.