A DRUG addict who broke into the home of two elderly brothers while they were asleep in bed was jailed for two years.
Mark Mulqueen, aged 45, of Lenihan Avenue, Prospect pleaded guilty to a charge of burglary relating to an incident on January 7, last.
Limerick Circuit Court was told the defendant was arrested at around 11.30pm after he was found by gardai in an upstairs bedroom at the home of the brothers – who were aged 78 and 80 at the time.
The brothers were asleep in another part of the house and were unaware of the burglary until gardai arrived.
Mulqueen, who has a large number of previous convictions, also pleaded guilty to breaking into the home of another pensioner on November 17, 2014.
Judge Tom O’Donnell was told on that occasion the defendant was apprehended trying to escape after the alarm was raised by the homeowner, who is aged in his 70s. While nothing was taken from either house, John O’Sullivan BL, prosecuting, said the occupants of the houses were “extremely upset”.
Imposing sentence, Judge O’Donnell noted the defendant’s criminal past, which he said was “long and serious”.
He said it was an aggravating factor that Mulqueen had targeted the homes of pensioners, who lived close to where he did and he noted that he had cut the grass for the two brothers when he was younger.
The judge commented that he was “somewhat equivocal” in relation to submissions put forward by lawyers representing Mulqueen that the offences were opportunistic rather than premeditated.
He noted that Mulqueen has a serious drug problem and said his admissions and plea were mitigating factors.
The judge said he regarded the offences as extremely serious and he sentenced Mulqueen to two years imprisonment.
While the sentence was backdated to January 8 last, it is to be served consecutively to an 18-month sentence, which was imposed in relation to a mass brawl during a which a 15-year-old girl was assault.
That incident happened on Davis Street on May 6, 2013 and Mulqueen was on bail in relation to the offence when he committed the two burglaries.