Thursday, 26 August 2010 21:38
A Dublin youth who stole from a 75-year-old nun in Castlebar has been sent to St. Patrick's Institution for a week.
The young man (16) is due back in Ballina District Court tomorrow (Wednesday) so that Judge Conal Gibbons can hear from the defendant's probation officer and then decide what penalty to impose.
The offence in Castlebar, where he and his family had been staying for a while, took place on August 12 last when the youth gained entry to the nun's house, after she returned from a shopping trip, by claiming he had lost a football in her property. She helped him look for it.
When the youth left he 'shot out' of the house, according to Detective Garda Roisin Loftus, and took the nun's handbag. She noticed then that a window in the property had been damaged.
Her handbag contained a crucifix and items relating to her role as a Eucharistic minister. After the youth was arrested in connection to the offence an anonymous phone was made to Castlebar Garda Station pinpointing the whereabouts of the handbag. All property was recovered.
Mr. Gerry McGovern, solicitor, said his client had 'done the manly thing' when he discovered it was a nun he had stolen from. His family had been quite annoyed with him over the incident, added Mr. McGovern.
Judge Gibbons heard the defendant had eight previous convictions, including one for theft and one for drink driving, and that he was on probation.
"Maybe I should send him straight to custody because he seems to have had every opportunity," said Judge Gibbons. "He's practically out of control. He has no respect for anyone. The thanks she (the nun) gets, after the clever way in which he ingratiated himself, is that he steals her handbag. He's not getting better, he's getting worse and worse."
The claim was made that the defendant didn't know he was stealing from a nun, but she told Detective Garda Loftus that he had said to her: "Sister, Sister, you have to help me."
Judge Gibbons decided to put the defendant in St. Patrick's Institution for Young Offenders for a week and told him to listen to his probation officer and take on board his or her advice. "Hopefully then we can get a plan for him."