Limerick man who snatched woman's handbag late at night jailed

David Hurley

Reporter:

David Hurley

Email:

david.hurley@limerickleader.ie

Man who snatched woman's handbag late at night jailed

The Courthouse, Mulgrave Street

A MAN who snatched a handbag from a woman as she was walking home late at night, has been jailed for three years.

Patrick Cullen, aged 33, who has an address at Courtbrack, Dock Road, had pleaded guilty to robbing the woman at Wolfe Tone Street on July 11, last.

Limerick Circuit Court heard the 21-year-old victim was walking home from the city centre shortly before midnight when she was approached from behind and pushed “suddenly and without warning”.

Cullen attempted to grab her handbag but when the woman resisted she fell and cut her finger after the strap of her handbag broke.

Having been alerted to the incident, gardai encountered Cullen at the junction of Wolfe Tone Street and O’Connell Street a short time later.

“He was sweating profusely,” said Garda Brian McCarthy who added the defendant then took gardai to Vizes Court where he had discarded the handbag.

Aaron Desmond BL said his client had made immediate admissions following his arrest. He said what happened was “silly and stupid” but that his client’s actions were “out of pure desperation” to get money to feed his drug habit.

Mr Desmond said the father-of-one regrets his actions and he submitted two hand-writtten letters to the court for its consideration.

He added that he is dealing with his addiction issues and has been engaging with the Probation Service while in custody.

Imposing sentence Judge Tom O’Donnell said what happened had been “very frightening and upsetting,” for the woman who, he noted, had declined the opportunity to make a victim impact statement. He added that she was an “easy and defenceless” target”

He said Cullen’s previous criminal record was a concern but he noted he had co-operated with gardai and that he the stolen handbag had been recovered.

 The judge also accepted the offence was opportunistic and was not pre-planned.

He imposed four year prison sentence, suspending the final 12 months on condition the defendant remains under the care and supervision of the Probation Service following his release.

The sentence was backdated to July 12, last.