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No jail for girl who pretended to be Christmas caroler to extort cash from elderly woman

Dublin Children's Court
Dublin Children's Court

A 16-YEAR-OLD girl, who pretended to be a Christmas carol singer in a bid to force an elderly Dublin woman to hand over money, has been spared a custodial sentence.

The teenager, who cannot be named for legal reasons, was bound over to keep the peace at the Dublin Children's Court today by Judge John O'Connor who warned her “you do it again, you're going in”.

The girl, who was accompanied to court by her lawyer and an aunt, pleaded guilty to a charge of trespassing causing fear at the woman's home in Park Villa in Castleknock on December 21 last.

A negative probation report on the teen was furnished to the court today.

Garda Patricia Davey told Judge O'Connor the girl knocked at the front door of a woman who is in her late seventies. “She claimed she was carol singing,” Gda Davey said, adding that the girl then started shouting “give me the money” at the woman.

The girl had been unaware that someone else was in the house and that person chased the teenager away.

The teen, who is from Romania, was arrested and brought to Blanchardstown Garda station where he claimed she felt unwell and “attempted to make herself sick” after which she was brought to hospital.

The teenage mother-of-one later had one prior conviction for which she was placed on probation last year. Judge O'Connor noted the latest pre-sentence probation report on the girl was “poor” and the defence lawyer conceded "it does not give me much to go on".

Pleading for leniency, the girl's solicitor Michelle Finan agreed the pre-sentence report was not good but she asked the court to note that the teenager had a child to care for and had admitted her guilt which meant the elderly victim did not have to come to court to give evidence.

Judge O'Connor said the girl had reached the threshold of getting a sentence but he was noting her young age.