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Dublin: 2°C Friday 7 May 2021

Man who broke into a terminally ill woman's home and repeatedly beat her son to be sentenced for false imprisonment

Graham Stafford broke into the home believing one of the family owed him €3,000.

Image: Sasko Lazarov/Rollingnews.ie

A DUBLIN MAN who broke into a terminally ill woman’s house and repeatedly beat her son over four hours will be sentenced later for false imprisonment.

Graham Stafford (36) broke into the home in the early hours of the morning, believing one of the family owed him €3,000.

Detective Garda Paul Oates said Stafford kicked and hit the then 32-year-old male occupant in front of his mother, who was suffering from cancer and has since passed away.

The injured party later told gardaí that Stafford had appeared “off his head on drugs”.

At one point Stafford, who was known to the family, made threats with a large kitchen knife and hit the man over the head with a Yankee Candle.

Stafford of St Canice’s Square, Dublin 11, pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to false imprisonment at Corduff Gardens, Blanchardstown, Dublin, on 24 January 2015.

His 11 previous convictions are for minor drugs and public order matters and he has been in custody since 2015.

Garda Oates told Caroline Cummings BL, prosecuting, that Stafford seemed to have thought the injured party’s sister had disposed of €3,000 drugs. Throughout the incident, he would stop and start the assault.

At one point he told the injured party he was stopping because his mother asked him to.

Then he giggled, made a joke and became aggressive once more. He eventually left the house, before returning briefly to seek a small amount of money to buy cocaine.

Under the influence

Garda Oates said the injured man suffered a cut to his left eye, lumps on his head and mouth wounds. He told investigators he had dizzy spells and headaches after the incident.

He didn’t go for medical treatment because he had to take his mother to hospital the next day. A victim impact report was handed into court, but not read out.

Gardaí seized clothing belonging to Stafford on his arrest. The injured party’s blood was later identified on a pair of cream trousers taken during the investigation.

Garda Oates agreed with Kathleen Leader SC, defending, that her client had been under the influence of drugs at the time. He further agreed Stafford had no previous convictions for a crime of this calibre.

Leader submitted to Judge Pauline Codd that Stafford wished to apologise to the man he attacked and express sympathy at his mother’s passing.

Leader said her client was put on medication after witnessing the violent death of his friend over ten years ago.

She said he suffered family bereavements about a year later and was in a motorbike accident, which ended his chances of playing professional football.

Counsel submitted that Stafford is in a drug-free wing in prison while awaiting sentence, has strong family support and job prospects on his release.

Judge Codd remanded Stafford in continuing custody and ordered a report from the Probation Service ahead of sentencing in April.

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Aoife Nic Ardghail

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