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refused bail Mother of six pushed into home of elderly neighbour at 3am with knife, court told

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A mother of six forced her way into her “terrified” 90-year-old neighbour’s home and stole from him at knifepoint as he pleaded with her to leave, believing he would be stabbed, it is alleged.

Michelle O’Leary (33) is also accused of “targeting” another vulnerable elderly man living alone, making him go to withdraw money from an ATM under threat of violence.

She was refused bail when she appeared in Dublin District Court on burglary charges. Judge Bryan Smyth remanded her in custody.

The prosecuting garda objected to bail, citing the seriousness of the allegations and the strength of the proposed evidence.

Outlining the case, she said it was alleged the accused went to the home of her 90-year-old neighbour at St Peter’s Court, Phibsborough, at 3am on April 15, “armed with a knife”.

The man was asleep in bed when he heard a loud bang at the door and he got up and asked who was there.

A woman’s voice said “it’s the police” and he opened the door “a small bit”, the garda said.

It was alleged the woman pushed the door and barged in, at which point the man recognised her as his next-door neighbour, Ms O’Leary, the court was told.

She allegedly had a knife in her hand and held the man at knifepoint while demanding money.

The alleged victim lived alone, was very frightened and pleaded with her to leave his home but she “kept coming towards him”, the garda said.

He grabbed her arm that had the knife but it was alleged the accused reached over with her other hand and took €60 from his pocket.

She fled the scene and dropped the knife in the hall, the garda said.

In an earlier incident on March 22, it was alleged Ms O’Leary and a co-accused man forced their way into the home of another “vulnerable” elderly man, aged 71, at Monkstown Court, Dún Laoghaire.

It was alleged she intimidated him and threatened physical violence on him.

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According to gardaí, the pair made the “terrified” man accompany them to the Centra on Oliver Plunkett Road, Dún Laoghaire, to withdraw €100 in cash.

When the shop manager saw what was happening, he intervened, threw the pair out of the shop and kept the alleged victim at the scene while the gardaí were called.

Ms O’Leary was allegedly identified on CCTV as the culprit in that incident. The garda said she spoke to Ms O’Leary 80 minutes after the second incident and she was wearing the same clothes as described by that alleged victim.

The second incident was “almost a carbon copy” of the first, the garda said, and it was alleged the accused had “a clear ‘MO’” and “targeted elderly and vulnerable gentlemen who live alone” in both incidents.

Her neighbour had been of the belief that if he had not grabbed the hand that was holding the knife, Ms O’Leary was going to stab him.

The garda believed the accused was “a danger to the general public and the injured parties in this case” if granted bail.

Applying for bail, defence solicitor Michael French said the accused was presumed innocent and would be a long time in custody waiting for her case to be dealt with if she was not granted bail.

There was no injury alleged to have been caused and she was welcome at another address, Mr French said.

Judge Smyth said they were clearly serious alleged offences and he believed it was reasonably necessary to refuse bail.

He remanded the accused in custody to appear in court again tomorrow by videolink.

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