Man (19) jailed for burgling homes of ‘cocooning’ retirement home residents

Judge says Felix Moorehouse ‘master of own destiny’ after mother’s plea for leniency

Felix Moorehouse (19), of West Pier Halting Site, Dún Laoghaire, pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to three burglaries and an attempted burglary. Photograph: Matt Kavanagh

Felix Moorehouse (19), of West Pier Halting Site, Dún Laoghaire, pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to three burglaries and an attempted burglary. Photograph: Matt Kavanagh

 

A man who burgled three homes in a gated retirement complex during the Covid-19 lockdown has been jailed for 45 months.

Felix Moorehouse (19), of West Pier Halting Site, Dún Laoghaire, pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to three burglaries and an attempted burglary at the complex on January 14th, 2021.

The court heard that each of the residents burgled was aged over 90 and that two of them encountered Moorehouse during the robberies, in which cash, bank cards, expensive jewellery of sentimental value and a phone were stolen.

Moorehouse has 25 previous convictions, including one for sexual assault.

Judge Martin Nolan noted that despite evidence that this was a gated residence with signage indicating it was a retirement complex, Moorehouse does not accept he was aware that it was housing for the elderly.

He said the victims who encountered Moorehouse “were cocooning at the time and not in a position to meet their children, grandchildren or friends”, and must have found the incident “particularly upsetting”.

Judge Nolan acknowledged evidence from Moorehouse’s mother that he was under the influence of his father, who has an extensive criminal record, but added that “at a certain point everyone is a master of their own destiny”.

‘Particularly wrong’

“He knows that it is wrong to burgle and to burgle old people is particularly wrong,” the judge said.

The judge suspended the final 15 months of a five-year prison sentence on condition that Moorehouse engage with the Probation Service upon his release.

Garda Deirdre Finn told Derek Cooney BL, prosecuting, that the first victim spotted Moorehouse in her bedroom. The victim had actually spotted Moorehouse earlier wandering around the complex carrying a watering can and believed he was a son of one of the residents.

The second victim was sitting in a chair in her sitting room with her eyes closed when Moorehouse appeared. She asked him, “Where did you come from?” and the burglar replied: “I’m new, I just wanted to see the place.”

Moorehouse took five rings from the woman, which included three eternity rings . He also took her handbag and all her bank cards and cash.

Garda Finn said Moorehouse was identified from CCTV footage, which showed him climbing over the front gate of the complex before walking around.