Source: Sasko Lazarov/RollingNews.ie
A HOMELESS MAN has been sentenced to five years in prison for robbing an elderly Dublin couple of cash that they had just withdrawn to pay for an inter-generational family holiday.
Kastriot Boza (44), an Albanian national of no fixed abode, pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to burglary at the couple’s Dublin home on 28 June this year.
The gardaí subsequently recovered €9,600 but the couple missed their family holiday.
The court heard that Teresa (83) and Edward Keenan (86) have suffered from panic attacks, sleeplessness, anxiety and stress since the robbery at their home, during which Boza knocked them both to the ground.
Mrs Keenan told gardaí that after pushing her over, Boza stood on her legs and “made a swipe” at her before wrenching her handbag off her shoulder.
Judge Cormac Quinn said elderly people were entitled to feel safe in their own homes and that the inviolability of the couple’s home had been cruel violated by Boza, who knew they were elderly and vulnerable.
He noted in mitigation that there had been an early plea which was of significant benefit as there may have been potential issues with identification and CCTV quality in the prosecution case.
The judge took into account the fact that Boza had apologised and shown remorse. He imposed a five-year sentence, backdated to when Boza went into custody.
In a victim impact statement cited in court, Teresa Keenan said she used to be an outgoing and independent person, but that her confidence had been affected and she sometimes panicked in public.
She said the incident had caused her family and her children “an enormous amount of stress” and that she often woke in a panic with flashbacks to lying on the hall at the moment of the robbery.
The court heard that Edward Keenan, who has had a pacemaker installed and a defibrillator at his bedside, was concerned that he was going to die.
In his victim impact statement, Mr Keenan said “things aren’t the way they used to be” and that he was no longer happy with himself or his life, and had become “slightly withdrawn”. He had suffered sleep deprivation, nausea, anxiety and stress and relied more on his children for simple chores.
Mr Keenan said he had become more security conscious and had had CCTV installed which was monitored by his children.
Both the Keenans mentioned the disappointment they felt at missing their planned family holiday in Co Kerry.
Detective Garda Manus Keane told Garret McCormack BL, prosecuting, that the Keenans had travelled to various places on the day in question, withdrawing cash for a planned family holiday.
They took out €3,000 from a branch of Ulster Bank at Dublin Airport, and also went to the Northside Shopping Centre, before driving back to their home.
Mrs Keenan told gardaí that after they got out of their car and were going through their door, a man walked into their driveway and pushed open the door before knocking both herself and her husband over.
Mrs Keenan had €3,000 in her wallet, another €5,000 in her bag and €300 in her purse, all for the purpose of paying for an inter-generational family holiday.
The court heard that a second man is facing trial in relation to the robbery.
CCTV footage gleaned from various places showed Boza walking around the Northside Shopping Centre as the Keenans were going about their errands and subsequently travelling as a passenger in a car that followed the couple.
Further CCTV footage showed Boza getting out of a car two doors up from the Keenan’s home and getting into that car after the robbery. The following day, gardaí arrested Boza in Swords.
He has 33 previous convictions, three of which are for robbery in the Circuit Criminal Court.
A further conviction at the Central Criminal Court relates to impeding the apprehension of another in relation to a murder prosecution. The state accepted he was acting under duress in that case.
Detective Garda Keane did not agreed with Lorcan Staines BL, defending, that the case against Boza would have been circumstantial but did agree it would not have been “a slam dunk.”
Mr Staines said Boza wished to apologise to the couple and said Boza regretted it greatly. He submitted that this was a valuable plea for a number of reasons including that the couple would not have to relive the horror of the day.
He said there was an active threat on Boza’s life and he was on protection in prison. He said this involved being locked up in his cell for 23 hours a day.
Mr Staines said while Boza had a poor record of convictions, his previous burglaries involved unoccupied commercial premises and this was a “step up” from his previous offences.
He said Boza had been released from a previous burglary sentence in January of this year and had been “rolled from place to place” in terms of emergency homeless accommodation.
Counsel said Boza had met his co-accused in the context of that system and began to take tablets and cocaine for the first time. He said the offence was “out of character” and committed in the context of someone who was consuming substances that lower ones thinking facilities.
Comments are closed as a court case is ongoing.