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Convicted burglar Edward Woodland found dead in cell days after sentence hearing

A spokesman for the Irish Prison Service said an investigation into Mr Woodland’s death will now be carried out

Edward Woodland

Eamon DillonSunday World

A convicted burglar who was before the courts this week has been found dead in his cell in Limerick Prison.

Edward Woodland (23) who was sentenced to four years in prison this week at Ennis Circuit Court was discovered by staff at Limerick Prison this morning.

All deaths in custody are notified to gardaí who investigate if needed as well as preparing a file for a coroner’s inquest.

A spokesman for the Irish Prison Service said an investigation into Mr Woodland’s death will now be carried out.

"The Irish Prison Service can confirm that there was a death in custody of a person in the custody of the Irish Prison Service on 12th January 2023 and the next of kin have been notified.

“This death in custody will be investigated by the Irish Prison Service, The Inspector of Prisons and An Garda Síochána, where circumstances warrant. The cause of death is determined by the Coroner’s Office.”

Woodland was jailed alongside his father Patrick (48) and two others for the 2018 raid on a rural house while a 97-year-old man slept inside.

Judge Eoin Garvan remarked that the burglars showed “humanity in the midst of a serious crime” when they left the house after discovering the elderly man asleep.

Judge Garvan said that it would have been very traumatic for the man’s son returning to his home on the afternoon and not knowing if his father had been interfered with or tied up.

During this week’s sentence hearing the judge also described as “extraordinary” the State paying disability benefit for the burglary gang member because of his lactose intolerance.

“I am sure that the taxpayer will be delighted to know that Department of Social Welfare pays disability benefit for lactose intolerance”.

Lactose intolerance is a common condition in which people are unable to digest lactose, which is mainly found in milk and dairy products.

“The less said about this the better but it seems to be an extraordinary reason for obtaining social protection disability payment.”

The gang had set up the raid with Edward’s uncle John Woodland meeting the farmer on the pretence of buying silage to lure him away from the farmhouse.

The other raiders then kicked in the door of the house and broke a lock before ransacking the property looking for cash until the realised a man was asleep.

All three were caught "red handed” by gardaí as they tried to escape through fields around Mr O’Connor’s home.

Nothing was taken in the burglary and Judge Garavan said no threat of violence or violence was used.

Imposing sentence, Judge Garavan said the burglary offence carried out by the gang “is of intense social concern” and there must be a deterrent.

He said such offences “terrify people in rural areas where there is little protection against this and who do not have gardaí on their doorstep”.

He said the “absolute fear and trauma to the victims that can be occasioned” by such offences in rural areas cannot be overstated.

Judge Garavan said that the offence was premeditated and carefully thought out and gardaí were on the scene as they knew that a burglary was going to take place as a result of intelligence received.

In sentencing, Judge Garavan imposed a five-year prison term on Patrick Woodland of Greenmount Avenue, Ballinacurra Weston, Limerick, a five-year prison term with the final year suspended on Edward Woodland with the same address, a five-year prison term on John Woodland of Clarina Avenue, Ballinacurra Avenue, Limerick, with the final two years suspended and three and a half years on Paul Kiely Glencairn, Dooradadoyle, Limerick with the final one and a half years suspended.

A detective garda gave evidence that Patrick Woodland and John Woodland were each jailed for three years in 2012 for a similar type of burglary in Galway.

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