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Burglar couldn’t access drug services clinic due to Covid-19 closures

By Sonya McLean

A family whose heirlooms of sentimental value were taken during a home break in has told a court that it’s sense of security and safety in their home has diminished.

The homeowners had indicated in a victim impact statement, prepared for the sentencing of the burglar Patrick McCann (65), that despite efforts to locate the stolen valuables through social media they have not been able to retrieve them.

The statement said that the family have “an acute sense of violation” and have a “heightened sense of vulnerability” in their home following the break-in last May.

McCann of Seagull House Flats, Crumlin, Dublin pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to burglary of the house on South Circular Road on May 21, 2020.

His 73 previous convictions, which were mainly dealt with in the District Court, include a number for burglary offences.

Today Judge Melanie Greally sentenced McCann to four and half years in prison with the final 12 months suspended.

She said she had taken into account the “well composed victim impact statement” and noted that the homeowners were “profoundly impacted” by the burglary.

The judge also noted that McCann, who was a heavy drug user, had been attending a drug services clinic at the time but that the facility had been impacted by Covid-19 restrictions at the time and he couldn’t attend it on the day of the burglary.

Judge Greally acknowledged that McCann said he had taken a large number of tablets on the day and had little recollection of the burglary.

She suspended the final 12 months on strict conditions including that he engages with the Probation Services for 18 months after his release from prison and that he be of good behaviour for two years.

At a sentence hearing last December, Garda Dylan Corcoran told Elva Duffy BL, prosecuting, that the homeowner left the house around 2.30 pm that afternoon to go to the local park with her three children.

She returned home later to find doors and windows open which she knew had been closed before she left and noticed a back bedroom window had been smashed.

Her jewellery box which contained valuable rings had been taken and some mobile phones which contained old photos.

The woman was worried that the intruder was still in the house and screamed for him to come out.

She was worried for the safety of her children and phoned her husband and contacted gardaí.

Gda Corcoran said the family were also concerned for the security of their home as it took two weeks to replace the smashed window.

CCTV footage from the property allowed for the identification of McCann as the burglar.

It showed him gaining access to the house by smashing the window with a nearby shovel about ten minutes after the family left.

The family dogs can be heard barking in a distressed way for the thirty minutes McCann was in the property.

Judge Greally said she accepted a submission from Luigi Rea BL, defending, that his client expressed remorse for his involvement in the burglary and had written a letter of remorse to the family.

She acknowledged that he had come from a disadvantaged background and developed an addiction to heroin and cocaine from a young age.

He has been on remand in prison since his arrest in May and urine analysis indicate that he is now drug free.

Mr Rea said McCann has been engaging with the education services in prison and has developed an interest in art.

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