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Dublin man part of gang who assaulted priest in terrifying robbery

CourtsBy Sunday World
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A man who was one of three burglars who raided an elderly priest's home has been jailed for two years.

Dublin Circuit Criminal Court heard that one of Edward Travers' co-accused punched the 66-year-old clergy man to the jaw after he told the intruders to get out of his house.

The priest had been on the phone when there was a knock to his door. He didn't get to answer it before Travers along with a man and a woman kicked it in. They were trying to raid the priest's office when the sacristan from the nearby church noticed an unusual car outside the parochial house and went in to investigate.

The burglars fled the house but the sacristan was able to get the registration of the getaway car. Travers was nominated as a suspect as the burglary was caught on CCTV and he was arrested the following year.

Travers (24) of The View, Millbrook Lawns, Tallaght, Dublin pleaded guilty to burglary on December 2, 2013. His 70 previous convictions include theft, drugs, public order, assault, road traffic offences and burglary.

Judge Melanie Greally noted that the priest was quite shaken by the incident which knocked his confidence and he had upgraded security as a result. She said Travers had expressed remorse for the offence and that there were signs he is taking positive steps to get to grips with his drug addiction.

Judge Greally imposed a three-year sentence but suspended the final year and ordered 12 months probation supervision. She backdated the sentence to July when evidence was heard in the case.

Garda Thomas Conway told Maurice Coffey BL, prosecuting that the priest had some bruising to his face which took a few weeks to heal.

A victim impact report before the court stated that he no longer felt safe in his home and had upgraded his security. Gda Conway said the priest was shook by the burglary and felt isolated in his home.

He agreed with Thomas Pearse BL, defending that Travers came from a dysfunctional background and had spent a lot of time in custody.

Gda Conway accepted that Travers looked better today than he did at the time of his arrest.

At the original sentence hearing in July Mr Pearse said his client was now drug free and disgusted by his behaviour. He had done an anger management course since his remand in prison.

Today, Mr Pearse accepted that the probation report before the court was mixed but submitted that his client was on the right track.

Sonya McLean/Fiona Ferguson