Homeless drug addict jailed for aggravated burglary and robbery

Central Criminal Court
Central Criminal Court

A homeless Dublin drug addict who was wrestled to the ground by a grandfather and held until gardai arrived has been jailed for four and a half years for aggravated burglary and robbery.

Mark Egan (36), with an address at Sundale Close, Tallaght, pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to aggravated burglary at Kildare Road, Crumlin on May 24, 2014.

He also pleaded guilty to robbery at Smock Alley Theatre on June 16, 2014.

His previous convictions include six burglaries, drugs offences, possession of knives, possession of a blood-filled syringe and robbery.

Gerard Byrne was awoken in the early hours of the morning by a loud thud and found Mark Egan standing in his kitchen in a high visibility jacket.

Mr Byrne noticed the lock broken on the kitchen window, his son's training bag open on the kitchen and went to shake Egan down for stolen items.

Egan hit him across the head with a claw hammer, but Mr Byrne immediately punched him back and managed to drag the intruder into the utility room until gardai arrived.

Judge Martin Nolan, reading from a victim impact statement, noted that Mr Byrne received three stitches to a cut on his head and suffered a sore wrist after the incident.

The judge commended Mr Byrne as a “robust individual”.

Gda Daly agreed with Caroline Biggs SC, defending Egan for the aggravated burglary, that her client had improved in appearance since the incident.

Ms Biggs handed a photo of Egan, taken shortly after his arrest, to Judge Nolan and submitted he was seven stone heavier now.

Garda Paddy McAvinue told Karl Finnegan BL, prosecuting, that Caoimhe Connolly had been working at Smock Alley Theatre when Egan approached with a kitchen knife.

Ms Connolly later told gardai that Egan, who she described as very gaunt and of wiry build, took her cards and €200 from a cash box.

He gave her phone back when she asked for its return, before leaving the scene.

The garda agreed with Cormac Quinn BL, defending Egan for the robbery, that CCTV footage showed that his client had found the knife while rummaging around in a bar on the premises.

He further agreed Egan had been “hugely apologetic” when he viewed footage of the robbery.

Gda McAvinue also accepted that the father-of-four looked “a million miles away from the man he was then”.

Ms Biggs submitted to Judge Nolan that her client had been dealing with his drug addiction while in custody.

She said Egan became homeless and drug addicted as a young man, but had settled down with a partner and children a number of years ago.

This relationship broke down when he relapsed onto drugs, leaving him homeless again.

Judge Nolan noted Egan's “sad upbringing” and took into account his guilty pleas.

He accepted Egan is a “far healthier man” with hope of reforming himself, but added that he had to punish him for his crimes.

He imposed a four and a half year sentence backdated to when Egan went into custody in August 2014.