Man avoids jail for ‘hoodwinking’ woman (82) with dementia

John Connors (36) took €2,250 for roofing work he never carried out at Dublin home

A Dublin man who ‘hoodwinked’ an 82-year-old woman with dementia by taking €2,250 for roofing work he never carried out has avoided a jail term. File photograph: Christopher Lee/Getty Images

A Dublin man who ‘hoodwinked’ an 82-year-old woman with dementia by taking €2,250 for roofing work he never carried out has avoided a jail term. File photograph: Christopher Lee/Getty Images

 

A Dublin man who “hoodwinked” an 82-year-old woman with dementia by taking €2,250 for roofing work he never carried out has avoided a jail term.

John Connors (36), of Wyckham Avenue, Dundrum, pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to the theft of €2,250 at the woman’s home in Carpenterstown, Dublin, on February 19th, 2016.

He has three previous convictions for assault and public order offences.

On Wednesday, Judge Martin Nolan sentenced Connors to three years in prison, which he suspended in full on strict conditions.

He said what had happened was a serious crime, as Connors “hoodwinked and defrauded an elderly lady”.

The judge accepted that Connors had paid the woman back, had expressed sincere remorse and didn’t have serious previous convictions.

He said Connors didn’t deserve an immediate custodial sentence.

Garda Alan Reddy told Anne-Marie Lawlor BL, prosecuting, that in March 2016 the woman’s son, who attended her home three to four times a week to check on her and carry out any necessary work in the house or gardens, noticed that she had written a cheque for €2,250.

He asked her about it and she said a man had called to the house claiming that she needed to have her roof repaired.

She said she had handed over the cheque to the “roofing service”.

The son checked the roof and saw that, at most, 10 minutes’ worth of work had been done on it.

He also checked the gardens and other areas to make sure that no other repairs had been carried out.

Gardaí­were contacted and Connors was identified, as he had cashed the cheque in his own bank account.

Arrest

Connors was arrested last May. He claimed he had carried out three days’ work at the property.

He said he had repaired the roof and a patio, as well as trimming hedges.

He said the woman had acknowledged that the work needed to be done.

Mr Reddy told the court he was satisfied that Connors could not have done more than two hours of work on the roof and that Connors had not carried out the other work he claimed to have done.

Kitty Perle BL, defending, said Connors was a married father-of-six who was the sole breadwinner for his family, as his wife was unable to work because of health difficulties.

She asked the court to accept that the incident was “a serious error in judgment” and handed in references which described Connors as a “trustworthy and reliable man”.