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Teenager armed with screwdriver subjected woman to 'terrifying' ordeal

The man, who was 19-years-old at the time, pleaded guilty in court.

A TEENAGER WAS armed with a screwdriver when he broke into a young woman’s home while she was in bed and subjected her to a “terrifying” ordeal, a Dublin court has heard.

Jamie Nulty (now aged 22) pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to burglary at Castaheany, Clonee on 15 July, 2017. He was 19-years-old at the time.

Nulty, with an address in Pinewood Green Court, Balbriggan, Co Dublin also pleaded guilty to dangerous driving at Clonsilla Road, Clonsilla on 17 February in the same year. He was on bail for the earlier offence when he broke into the home of Sarah Kearney in Clonee.

Detective Garda Alan Gordon told the court that Kearney was lying in bed at around 8am when she heard some noises downstairs. Kearney initially assumed her mother, who she lived with, was making the noise before she remembered her mother had already left for work.

She was still lying in bed when her bedroom door opened and Nulty appeared armed with a screwdriver. He had broken in a downstairs window, the court heard.

He demanded money and Kearney told him there was no money in the house but that her handbag was downstairs. Nulty walked her down the stairs, holding the screwdriver at her back.

He took her bank card and PIN and continued to search the house while armed with the screwdriver. At one point he considered taking a computer and asked her for a carrier bag before she told him it was broken.

At one point when they were back upstairs, she got her phone and tried to dial 999, but he noticed and grabbed her arm before throwing her down on the bed.

Throughout the ordeal, Kearney was extremely scared, the court heard. It came to an end when Nulty decided to leave, putting a tea towel on his head and jumping on a bike.

Carney alerted her neighbours and gardaí were called. Nulty was arrested at the local shops a short time later. He has 23 previous convictions.

In a victim impact statement handed into court, Kearney said she suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder in the wake of the burglary and still finds it very difficult to be alone in the house.

“I don’t feel safe on my own,” she said. She suffered a loss of €1,000 in lost earnings and therapy costs, the court heard.

Defence counsel Cathal McGreal BL, told the court: “It was a terrifying experience for Ms Kearney.”

He said Nulty was on drugs at the time and going through a period of homelessness. McGreal submitted Nulty was under threat from individuals and had moved out of the home he shared with his mother and six siblings in order to protect them.

He is now living back in the family home and has since had a baby son. He has not come to garda attention since this offence.

In relation to the dangerous driving offence, the court heard Nulty was driving a car with two other young men in the back when they were spotted acting suspiciously by an on-patrol garda. A pursuit ensued which ended when Nulty lost control of the car.

The three men were hospitalised but not seriously injured.

Judge Karen O’Connor ordered a Probation Service report and remanded Nulty in custody. He will be sentenced on 29 July.