Burglars caught stealing copper pipes to pay for headstone avoid jail

The incident took place at St Teresa's Gardens
The incident took place at St Teresa's Gardens

TWO burglars, who tried to steal copper pipes from a derelict Dublin flat to help pay for a headstone, have been spared jail.

Jonathan McDonagh (31) from Carton Road, Poppentree, in Ballymun in Dublin and his cousin Patrick McDonagh (24) of St Margaret's Park, Ballymun, pleaded guilty to burglary and possessing implements for use in a theft at the now demolished Teresa's Gardens flats on Jan. 13 last.

Patrick McDonagh had a vice grips and head torch while his co-defendant had a crowbar and a torch. Judge Ann Ryan fined them €150 each.

Garda Eoin Kane told Dublin District Court that he responded to a call of males breaking into flats at St Teresa's Gardens take copper pipes.

He said Patrick McDonagh had 39 prior criminal convictions including three for burglary and one for trespassing. His other previous crimes included assault causing harm, four counts of criminal damage, two public order charges and 25 road traffic offences.

The most recent was recorded in December when he was jailed for two months for trespassing.

The court heard that father-of-six Jonathan McDonagh had nine prior convictions including one for burglary and another for knife possession.

Gda Kane agreed with defence solicitor Alan Doyle said that the two men were co-operative and made admissions. He also agreed that the flats have since been demolished by the council and had already been stripped of most their worth by the time of the incident.

Mr Doyle said his clients did not have drink or drug problems. “Things were tight,” he explained adding that the two men had been trying to get money for a headstone for Patrick McDonagh's father who died a month before.

Judge Ryan said she noted they pleaded guilty but previous convictions included burglary. She said the offence did not warrant custodial sentences and there was no great loss but they needed to heed that this was inappropriate behaviour. Addressing Jonathan McDonagh she said: “You have six children it is about time you changed your ways”.