Burglar caught after victim chased him with garden hoe

Homeowner asks court to consider ordering recovering addict into treatment instead of jail

The court heard Mark Kelly has 34 previous convictions including burglary and robbery. He received a four-year jail sentence in 2012 for aggravated burglary which was suspended but later activated in October 2013. Photograph: Michaela Rehle/Reuters

The court heard Mark Kelly has 34 previous convictions including burglary and robbery. He received a four-year jail sentence in 2012 for aggravated burglary which was suspended but later activated in October 2013. Photograph: Michaela Rehle/Reuters

Wed, Jul 16, 2014, 17:33

A burglar was caught after he ran in front of a Garda patrol car while being chased by the victim of the burglary with a garden hoe.

Mark Kelly (36), continued to run with the homeowner and Garda car behind him.

Garda Sarah McArdle told Dublin Circuit Criminal Court she arrested Kelly after he ran down a cul-de-sac and tried unsuccessfully to climb across a wall.

In his victim impact report, homeowner David Wheefer, asked the court to consider ordering the recovering heroin addict to take part in drug treatment services instead of jailing him.

Kelly, of Brian Boru Street, Clontarf, Dublin, pleaded guilty to burglary at Kincora Road, Clontarf on February 23rd, 2012. He also admitted taking part in a robbery of an iPhone and wallet on Harcourt Street on July 23rd, 2012. He put his arms around a “very drunk” man and escorted him up the street before later helping two others to pull him to the ground and go through his pockets.

Judge Mary Ellen Ring adjourned sentencing until next January. She said she wants to see evidence Kelly is making efforts to get himself off methadone. She described Mr Wheefer’s attitude to Kelly as “very generous”.

The victim said he knows Kelly and knows about his addiction problems and said that at no time during the burglary did Kelly injure anyone.

Mr Wheefer found Kelly in the upstairs bedroom of his home after Mr Wheefer’s daughter told him she heard noises upstairs. He confronted Kelly and the burglar threatened him before running out of the house.

Mr Wheefer grabbed a garden hoe to defend himself, tried to corner Kelly and then chased after him.

Kelly has spent more than 13 years of the last 15 years in custody. He appealed to the court for help, saying: “I’ve been here so long. I’m on a rollercoaster and I can’t get off it. I feel like my life is not worth living. I’m broke.

“I accept it’s my fault for everything I’ve done. I brought it on myself.”

He said he finds it difficult to cope when he is released from custody. He apologised for his crimes and said he was taking cocaine at the time of the burglary.

He claimed he didn’t know the other men intended to rob the drunk man on Harcourt Street.

Kelly has 34 previous convictions including burglary and robbery. He received a four-year jail sentence in 2012 for aggravated burglary which was suspended but later activated in October 2013.

Fiona Murphy BL, defending, said Kelly’s life spiralled out of control when he was in his 20s and he became addicted to heroin. She said he stopped abusing heroin in 2006.