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Man (34) with 168 previous convictions burgled house while woman worked from home

Willie Joyce was sentenced for two burglaries
The Argus

A 34-year-old man who burgled a house while it was occupied has been sentenced to a total of 10 months imprisonment.

Willie Joyce, Aghameen Park, Muirhevnamór, Dundalk, pleaded guilty to several offences relating to separate incidents when he appeared in court via video link.

It was stated he had 168 previous convictions and had been in and out of custody since the age of 19.

Sgt Laura Blanche presented evidence that at 5.30pm on 1 November last a lady was working from home in an upstairs bedroom of her house in Aghameen Park.

She heard noises downstairs four minutes later and on investigation found that items had been moved around. The back door was open.

Two bicycles, medication, a mobile phone, headphones, a car key and ring, three bottles of alcohol and a sports bag, total value €1,230, were missing.

A neighbour reported seeing Joyce at the back garden of this house around 5.30pm. He broke the fence while trying to climb it.

Some of the property was recovered in the area, while gardaí saw the keyring and headphones when they went to Joyce’s house.

A Victim Impact Statement was read by Judge McKiernan.

The court also heard that on 1 June 2021 the defendant was seen acting suspiciously on the curtilage of a house in Slieve Foy Park, Muirhevnamor.

He was searched by gardaí, and a screwdriver and four hacksaw blades were found on him.

It transpired a quantity of copper had been taken from the vacant council property.

Further details were given of public order offences, while on 12 July 2019 Joyce was in possession of three Zopiclone tablets, valued €6.

Evidence was also presented that at 2.02pm on 31 July 2020, while being escorted from the courthouse to a prison van, the father of two became ‘highly agitated’ and lashed out with his feet, damaging a door.

Solicitor Aimee McCumiskey said the burglary at the council house was opportunistic. The scrap metal was recovered.

Her client had no recollection of the other matters. He was taking street tabs at the time.

Joyce recognised he was in a spiral. He hadn’t applied for bail and remained on a methadone maintenance programme in Cloverhill Prison.

His aim was to undergo a residential drugs treatment programme when he got out of custody.

For the burglary at Aghameen Park an 8-month sentence was imposed, two months suspended, and consecutive to a four-month term for the Slieve Foy Park burglary.

Other charges were taken into consideration.

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