Men guilty of stealing from pensioner

Two men were sentenced in Cork today for stealing EUR123,000 from a pensioner's home.

Two men were sentenced in Cork today for stealing EUR123,000 from a pensioner's home.

Mon, Feb 11, 2013, 00:00

Two men were jailed today after pleading guilty to stealing €123,000 from an 80-year-old pensioner when they broke into his home while he was away visiting his ill wife and ransacked the house.

Ger Ryan (31) of Park View in Charleville, Co Cork was sentenced to six years with one year suspended and Malcolm Kelly (26) of Coolegeela in Kanturk, Co Cork was sentenced to six years with two years suspended for the burglary in Kanturk on the night of October 14th 2012.

Both men also pleaded guilty at Cork Circuit Criminal Court to four counts of criminal damage.

They broke into the house while the man was away visiting his elderly wife who was being cared for by their daughter after being injured in a car accident.

Det Garda Padraig Reddington said the men were caught after gardaí were called to the Silver Springs Moran Hotel in Cork city on the afternoon of October 15th.

Mr Ryan was found in inebriated state in a hotel room with a woman. He refused to leave because he was waiting for a friend who had left something in the hotel room safe.

When Mr Kelly returned, Gardaí got him to open the safe where they discovered a large quantity of cash. Mr Ryan later led gardaí to where he had hidden more cash.

Det Garda Reddington said gardaí recovered a total of €101,000 and believed the remaining €22,000 had been given to a person who had tipped off the duo about the cash in the pensioner's house.

The men would not say who had given them the tip off, and gardaí were unable to identify the person.

The accused caused extensive damage to the upstairs of the house when looking for the cash. The elderly man arrived home to find his home turned "completely upside down" and it took him several weeks before he felt able to move back into the house, he said.

Barristers for both accused, Donal O’Sullivan BL and Elizabeth O’Connell BL pointed out the men broke in when the pensioner was not at home so he was never confronted by them.

The men had also pleaded guilty and spared the man the trauma of a trial.

Judge Sean O’Donnabhain said that although the pensioner was not at home at the time, it clearly had a traumatic effect on him.

"For this man to come home to see his home ransacked and his life savings gone, I’m sure that’s a memory that will stay with him," he said.

He noted both men had pleaded guilty which was to their credit but there were aggravating factors.

"There was definite deliberation to this - there was no one in the house - it was a planned escapade after they got information from a co-conspirator," he said.

Both men had previous convictions. Mr Ryan had been convicted for firearms, false imprisonment and arson offences, and Mr Kelly for burglary and robbery..