A DUBLIN youth who stole €45,000 from a Mayo pub when he was 15 years old was sentenced to five years imprisonment at last week’s sitting of Castlebar Circuit Court.
The money was stolen from the Tavern Bar and Restaurant in Murrisk, Westport, on August 16, 2008, by Martin Connors, with an address at 36 William Street North, Dublin. He also stole €100 in coins from Bargain Basket on Mill Street, Westport, on the same night.
There was no sign of a forced entry in either of the locations, but CCTV footage showed Mr Connors, now aged 18, as the perpetrator. The money was never recovered and Mr Connors refused to tell gardaí where it went or how he had gained entry to the premises and took the money. When arraigned he pleaded guilty to the offence.
Sergeant Pat O’Hora told the court that Mr Connors had been in Westport with relatives at the time of the theft. He was arrested in Dublin on November 12, 2008. Despite being showed the CCTV stills, Mr Connors denied ever being in Westport or Mayo.
Mr Connors has 74 previous convictions, the majority of which are for burglary and road traffic offences, and he has been in custody for the last 12 months. He was granted compassionate bail in March to attend his sister’s funeral but absconded. He was found in June.
Sgt O’Hora said there was no interference with the owners of the property, and they did not know anything was missing until the following morning.
Ms Kitty Perle, BL for the defendant, said her client’s father died four years ago and his mother had an alcohol problem. She said Mr Connors found himself under the influence of older members of the Traveller community, and they brought him to Westport.
She said he suffered a double tragedy this year, following the death of his two older sisters in tragic circumstances, and that it has had a huge affect on him. He is attending school in St Patrick’s Institute while in custody, and she said he has matured while inside.
Ms Perle said he wanted to get his life back on track and asked Judge Tony Hunt to be lenient in sentencing.
Judge Hunt said the theft of €45,000 was a large amount to take and highlighted the fact that there was no explanation for where it went. He said he could not let him out immediately but would sentence Mr Connors in a way that would allow him get his life on the straight and narrow, but he asked Mr Connors to ensure that it remains that way.
Judge Hunt imposed a five-year sentence but suspended the last three years of the sentence for five years post-release and backdated the sentence from September 21, 2010.