Career thug to be sentenced for handbag theft

Career thug to be sentenced for handbag theft

A reformed robber will be sentenced early next year for the “nasty” theft of a handbag from a woman walking home with her two year old daughter.

Joseph Cole (48) has 42 previous convictions including a seven year term for armed robbery in the UK in 1994 and an eight year term here for attempted robbery and false imprisonment in 2002.

Cole, of Oakley Lodge, Dublin 6 pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to theft of a handbag at Benburb Street on October 14, 2011.

The bag had cash and contents valued at €1,100, none of which was recovered.

Judge Melanie Greally said it appeared Cole wanted to put his criminal behaviour behind him and get on with a normal life. She told him that successfully dealing with his drug addiction had not been an easy feat and adjourned sentencing until February for a probation report.

Garda David Chapman told Paul Carroll BL, prosecuting, that the woman was walking home after collecting her daughter. She was pushing a buggy and the child was walking alongside her.

She became conscious of two individuals in and around her and her daughter. One of the men stood in front of her, near her daughter in order to distract her and Cole grabbed her handbag from the buggy. The woman was in fear and did not offer an resistance as the men ran away.

Gda Chapman said the pair were nominated as suspects following a review of CCTV footage from the area and arrested. Cole, who was homeless at the time. He told gardai he had been on tablets and had difficulty remembering what happened but accepted he took the bag off the buggy.

John Byrne BL, defending, said Cole had served an apprenticeship as a jockey in the Curragh beginning when he was 14 years old but it ended when he had personal difficulties with a trainer.

He said his subsequent work history was sporadic and he began using drugs recreationally before falling into heroin addiction.

Cole received a seven year sentence in the United Kingdom for armed robbery in 1994 and was released on licence in 1999 having addressed his drug addiction in custody.

However he breached the terms of his release by coming home to Ireland where he fell back into drug addiction. He moved back to the UK in 2012 and was returned to prison to serve the remainder of his sentence. Cole was released in March 2015 and returned to Ireland.

Mr Byrne said he had been doing well in custody in Cloverhill and has displayed genuine remorse.