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Partner's anger Thieves who were jailed over picking pockets of 'dead or dying' dad-of-three 'got what they deserved'

Tragic: Dad Andrew died of a heroin overdose in city centre

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The heartbroken partner of a man who was robbed as he lay dead or dying on the street, has said his robbers 'got exactly what they deserved' after both were jailed.

Christina Kelly spoke to this newspaper as today we reveal, for the first time, pictures of the two thugs responsible for robbing Andrew Stammers.

Loving father-of-three Andrew died in a laneway in Dublin on October 19, 2017.

Dublin Circuit Court heard it was not possible to establish if he was dead or dying when vile thieves Owen Comerford (34) and his accomplice John Murdiff (33) rummaged through his pockets and stole from him.

CCTV footage from the area showed that the two men had searched through Andrew's pockets when they initially encountered him.

They passed by again later that night and raised the alarm after noticing he was still in the same position and they waited with him until medical assistance arrived.

Comerford was jailed for 18 months for the theft on Tuesday while Murdiff was jailed for two years earlier this year.

Andrew's partner Christina Kelly said: "They got exactly what they deserved. It was the maximum the judge could give them so I'm happy with that.

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John Murdiff

John Murdiff

John Murdiff

"Andrew lived for his family.

"His children will miss him this Christmas."

Comerford, of Sean O'Casey Avenue, Dublin 1, pleaded guilty to theft from Andrew at Adare Lane.

Judge Melanie Greally said it was "an opportunistic theft on a man who was vulnerable and was either dead or was dying".

She said that the circumstances of Andrew's death had caused massive additional distress to his grieving partner.

The court heard that Andrew was a recovering drug addict and had left a life of addiction behind him.

Maurice Coffey BL, prosecuting, said that for "some inexplicable reason" he went into Dublin city that day and took heroin.

He died of an overdose at some point that night.

It was difficult to establish his exact time of death as Andrew remained in the same position in the lane throughout the CCTV footage.

Detective Garda Keith Fleming agreed with Rebecca Smith BL, defending, that Comerford had written a letter of apology in which he accepted full responsibility for his part in the offence.

He agreed Comerford was not the instigator.

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Owen Comerford

Owen Comerford

Owen Comerford

Det Fleming told the court he was part of the team who investigated the death of Mr Stammers.

Slumped

He spoke to people at the scene, including Murdiff and Comerford. They told Gardai they had passed Mr Stammers at about 11.30pm and noticed him passed out slumped against bins.

They noticed him in the same position about 2.30am and went to get help. A member of the public performed CPR on Mr Stammers who realised he had died and waited with him and the two men until the Fire Brigade arrived.

As part of the investigation CCTV was obtained from the area and showed Murdiff and Comerford going through Mr Stammers pockets and removing items, before returning later that night to alert emergency services.

Murdiff was observed to go through Mr Stammers' pockets first, taking cigarettes and cash, while Comerford kept a look out, before Comerford also went through the man's pockets.

A Garda witness agreed with Ms Smith that Comerford had struggled with drug addiction from an early age.

The court heard that Comerford was charged in December 2017 and while out on bail for this offence he carried out three burglaries in the city as well as using a screwdriver to threaten staff in a newsagent on Dublin's East Wall Road.

Judge Greally noted that the family who ran that shop had decided to close the business because they no longer felt safe after Comerford made threats to burn the shop down.

Threatened

Comerford called the woman who owned the Gala shop "a f**king prostitute", spat at her and threatened that he would burn the shop down.

He pulled out a screwdriver and threatened her husband that he would "stick it in you".

During this second offence Comerford threatened a security guard with the screwdriver and told him "I'll stick this in your neck if you ever try to hold me again".

Ms Smith said Comerford had previously been given bail to attend drug treatment and was grateful for that opportunity but had left without completing the course.

She said he hoped someday to address his demons and is currently clean of drugs in Cloverhill Prison.

She imposed additional prison terms for these offences, bringing his final sentence to five-and-a-half years. She suspended the final 12 months on condition that he engage with the Probation Services drug treatment programmes.

She noted that Comerford had gone into institutional care as a child and was damaged by a background of deprivation.

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