Woman jailed for trespassing at Wicklow home despite priest's assurances 'she wouldn't rob anyone'

Eleven month sentence has now been appealed

Leinster Leader reporter


Leinster Leader reporter



Woman jailed for trespassing at Wicklow home despite priest's assurances 'she wouldn't rob anyone'

File photo

A priest has told the Court that he was convinced that a woman convicted of a trespass crime could not have done it.

After evidence had been heard in the case of the 57 year Wexford woman, Fr Pearse McLoughlin arrived in Court.

He went over to greet the defendant and was taken to task by Judge Desmond Zaidan.

Following over an hour of evidence the woman was jailed for eleven months after she was found guilty of trespassing at a house in Blessington on April 11 2017.

Josephine Connors, 1 Ryland Wood, Bunclody, Wexford, denied to the Court that she was the woman involved in trespass at the home of Thomas Bird at Suncroft House, Blessington.

She has appealed the sentence.

Thomas Bird told the Court that around 6.30pm on the day, he saw a woman and a child whom he believed was around 12 years old, near the house and he went to see if they were lost.

The woman, who was wearing a scarf, asked if the girl could see his dog. He obliged and he followed them into the house. He said he was a bit nervous with the dog as the child bent down. He saw the woman going in behind him and put her hand in a handbag belonging to his girlfriend's daughter.

He asked “what the f...k she was doing?” She made a run for the door. There was a struggle, he said.

Mr Bird said he could not identify the woman.

His girlfriend, Laura Kavanagh told how she heard Mr Bird shouting and came into the kitchen.

She said the scarf fell off the women and she saw her face. She identified her in the courtroom as the defendant.

Ms Kavnagh also enabled a picture of a likeness of the defendant's face to be produced via computer by Garda experts. She later identified Ms Connors in an identity parade.

Ms Kavanagh was certain it was Ms Connors, adding that the woman hadn't got good teeth. “I got a good look,” she said.

Garda Dan Whelan, from Bunclody, said that the computer generated ID was circulated and Ms Connors, whom he knew 12/13 years, was identified. He told Conal Boyce, solicitor, he never dealt with her as a suspect in that time.

Ms Connors emphatically denied it was her. “I never robbed in my life,” she said. “I am not going to admit to something I did not do.”

She said she had come up from Bunclody, making trips to pick up two of her sisters. At first they dropped her son to Dublin Airport, travelling via the M50, and they then went to Crumlin and Temple Street Hospital where a niece of hers had to go with a sick baby.

Two of Ms Connor's sisters and the niece also gave evidence of the defendant's movement that day saying she was with them at the hospitals and airport.

No CCTV evidence of that journey was produced in Court.

Garda Inspector Oliver Henry said Ms Connors had no convictions of this sort before. Fr McLoughlin (68) arrived in Court after evidence was given.

“She wouldn't rob anybody. It has to be a mistake,” he said.

Judge Zaidan said Ms Kavanagh's evidence was compelling.