Life was shattered for a couple after property was stolen in rural County Sligo, the Sligo Circuit Court was told.
The couple from Dublin had a holiday home near Gurtin, but after the burglary they said their sense of sanctuary was replaced by anxiety and apprehension each time they visited.
They were among the victims of Benny Hanberry (57) of Boyle, Kingsland, who appeared before Sligo Circuit Court last Friday for sentencing after pleading on five counts, including burglary and possession of stolen property.
He admitted that between 31 July 2020 and 11 November 2020, Kesha stole Pat Ward’s property in Knockconnor, an electric Florabest hedgecutter worth €100.
Hanberry further admitted to possessing a stolen Makitoo holdl and 6 piece multi set at Ardmoyle, Kingsland on November 11, 2020.
Also on the same date and address, which has a stolen Draper hedgecutter and a Stiga hedgecutter.
On 4 March 2019 in Clunegh, Gurtin he stole seven steel grinders worth €500 from the property of Rachel Healy and on 30 October 2020 he entered a building as a trespasser in Ann Cranaugh, Moygara, Gurtin.
Mr. Leo Mulroney BL (Prosecution) with State Solicitor, Alyssa McHugh, told the court that on 7 October 2021 the defendant was returned for trial in five cases, one of which filed a guilty plea on 16 November and a petition was filed. Last January 28 for two more counts.
These arguments were presented on the basis of full facts on all counts, taking into account two.
Sergeant John Walsh told the court that on 3 October 2020 a Riello burner unit and boiler thermostat controls for a central heating boiler were stolen from Ciaran Walsh’s holiday home at a total cost of €500. The eyewitness said he saw CCTV footage from the property and was able to identify the number plate of the car used.
The burner unit and boiler thermostat were stolen from an outhouse attached to the house.
The vehicle was registered at Hanberry and Sergeant Walsh went home and searched the property under warrant and the goods were recovered.
Hanberry was later arrested.
The hair was taken from the home of Pat Ward to the hedgecutter for which Hanberry was working on something.
Sergeant Walsh said that Mr Ward identified the hedgecutter at Ballymot Garda station, not knowing that they had been stolen.
Seven steel girders were taken from Rachel Healy’s Holdie Home and the incident was also captured on CCTV.
Sergeant Walsh said the defendant told him that he had borrowed the girders and intended to give them back, although he had them for more than six months at that stage.
With regard to other items, Hanberry claimed that the equipment had been sold to him but this was not the case.
The defendant had no prior conviction.
Sergeant Walsh read the victim’s impression statements in court.
Pat Ward said his hedgecutter was stolen between August and July 2020. He said that Hanberry was an acquaintance of his and it was a shock to him to know who he was working with.
“I trusted Mr. Hanberry and I actually sent Mr. Hanberry to family and friends.
“All I can say is that I am really surprised that I was taken for such a fool,” he said.
Rachel Healy said that she and her husband had a vacation home in Clunegh, Gurtin, and in March 2019, seven steel girders were stolen. This resulted in delays in the rebuilding of the house and garage.
This caused a lot of stress especially to her husband. They were considering moving to Gurtin on a permanent basis because of its comfortable and safe environment.
“However, Gurtin’s view has been negatively changed in my mind due to the defendant’s actions, which is a pity,” she said.
She said that if she really needed them, she and her husband would have given girders to the respondent.
Darragh McDonagh whose hedgecutter was stolen said that it was hard to believe that a man who had been given a few pounds to do some chores around the house and was later involved in the operation of his hedgecutter was hard to believe.
“It really is a breach of trust. I am glad I have my hedgecutter back and in the future I will definitely be more careful in trusting people,” he said.
Ciaran Walsh and Rachel Mooney, whose burner and boiler thermostat were taken over, said their holiday home in Gurteen was their place to rest, recover and recharge, a peace away from the hectic pace of working and living in London. , was enjoying the paradise of calm and peace. and Dublin.
“Every time we visit the sense of sanctuary has been replaced with worry and apprehension, even now 18 months later, worry that we might arrive to find another incident Where our safety and security has been violated, our property has been damaged and our belongings stolen,” he said.
Ms Ellen Finnernan BL (directed by Solicitor Kelechi-Njoku of Mulaney’s Solicitor) submitted that Hanberry was the father of a son and daughter, and was in the process of separating from his wife as a result of his humiliation.
He was a small farmer who had worked with the Roscommon LEADER partnership on a rural scheme since 2004 and a reference to this employer was submitted to the court.
Ms Finneran insisted that the defendant had no previous convictions and that €1,000 from the sale of cattle through compensation was in court.
The barrister said it was accepted that it was a breach of trust.
He pleaded for leniency.
In response to Judge Staines, Sergeant Walsh said that all injured parties would get their property back.
However, the burner unit was not in working condition. It will cost €500 for new units and installation costs. There was also a cost of €70 in replacement costs for the wireless CCTV camera and memory card.
Judge Staines said there was clearly a lot of planning involved, particularly with regard to theft of steel girders where a trailer was to be used.
He said that the feelings of safety and security of the family members have been violated.
The judge said there was also a sense of breach of trust that the defendant had let down the people for whom he had worked.
He praised the excellent work in apprehending the respondent.
The judge ordered €600 to be paid to Ciaran Walsh and €400 to Rachel Healy.
Judge Staines sentenced Hanberry to three years in prison but suspended the two-year term.
He was also obliged to maintain peace and behave well for two years after his release from prison after serving one year.