Man who broke into neighbour’s home while armed with knife is jailed

Defendant returned to his own home after the burglary, court told

The court heard  the victim’s wife had locked herself and their child into a bedroom and only came out when gardaí arrived. File photograph: Dave Meehan/The Irish Times

The court heard the victim’s wife had locked herself and their child into a bedroom and only came out when gardaí arrived. File photograph: Dave Meehan/The Irish Times

 

A man who broke into his neighbour’s home while armed with a knife and demanded cash has been jailed for 28 months.

James Doran (29) of Whitechurch Way, Ballyboden, Dublin 16 pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to aggravated burglary on January 12, 2013. He has seven previous convictions from the District Court.

Detective Garda James Codd told Grainne O’Neill BL, prosecuting, that a warrant was issued for Doran’s arrest in February 2014 when he failed to show up for a sentence hearing. He had fled to the UK and was ultimately extradited back to Ireland on foot of a European Arrest Warrant in August last year and has been in custody since.

He said in January 2013 the victim, a taxi driver, was at home shortly after midnight, having just finished work. His wife and five year old son were sleeping upstairs when he heard a loud knock at the door.

Doran rushed past him when he opened the door, held a knife to him and told him he wanted €400. He threatened to kill the man if he refused to hand it over.

The victim knew Doran as his neighbour. He later told gardaí that he would regularly call over to him for cigarettes or money but Det Gda Codd accepted that there was “no bad blood” between the men.

The garda said Doran continued to shove the knife at his neighbour’s stomach and the man got a cut on his thumb while trying to defending himself. The gardaí were called and Doran eventually left.

Det Gda Codd said the victim’s wife had locked herself and their child into a bedroom and only came out when the gardaí arrived.

Doran was arrested immediately at his home. When gardaí called to the house he dropped a black handled knife from his pocket and he appeared intoxicated.

He said in interview that he had not gone there to hurt anyone and claimed he had never threatened the victim.

Det Gda Codd agreed with Marc Murphy BL, defending, that Doran had “a fairly sketchy memory of the detail” of the night but accepted he was there and expressed remorse. He claimed he had taken alcohol and ecstasy that night.

Det Gda Codd further agreed that there was “nothing sophisticated” about the crime in that the victim would easily have recognised Doran and he returned to his own home after the burglary.

Mr Murphy said his client has been drug free for quite a while and had been doing well while living in England. He said he had been drinking heavily and taking drugs at the time of the burglary.

Judge Martin Nolan sentenced Doran to five years in prison but suspended all but 28 months of that sentence on strict conditions.

He said a “home invasion” was a pretty serious crime and Doran had “threatened the occupiers”.

The judge accepted that Doran had “built a new life for himself in England” and had been getting on well there before he was brought back to Ireland.