Burglar restrained by monks at Glenstal Abbey claimed he was a ‘special forces garda’

David Hurley


David Hurley

The incident happened at Glenstal Abbey

The incident happened at Glenstal Abbey

A BURGLAR who entered a teacher’s bedroom at Glenstal Abbey in County Limerick was restrained by monks and other staff pending the arrival of gardai, a court has heard.

Details of the incident emerged last week during the sentencing hearing of the intruder.

Damien Hackett, 34, of Ros Fearna, Murroe has pleaded guilty to assault, burglary and weapons charges relating to the incident which happened in the early hours of May 27, 2017.

He has also admitted impersonating a garda after he was confronted by the monks once the alarm was raised.

Garda Mark Dunlea told Limerick Circuit Court that Mr Hackett entered the room of an Australian student at around 2.45am and stole his phone from a bedside locker before later entering the apartment of a teacher who was living on site.

When confronted by the teacher, the defendant claimed he was a “special forces garda” and after pushing against the teacher he picked up a chair and “fired it at him”.

Garda Dunlea told Lily Buckley BL, instructed by State Solicitor Adian Judge, that the defendant was restrained a short time later after he was found hiding under a bush.

Judge Tom O’Donnell was told the defendant had been drinking heavily and that he resisted arrest following the arrival of gardai.

The defendant initially denied any wrongdoing telling gardai that he had entered by a gap in the wall and was “lamping” with a hunting dog on the grounds of Glenstal Abbey.

Pat Barriscale BL said his client, who suffers from mental health issues, made admissions following his arrest and that he accepts his behaviour was out of order.

Mr Barriscale said that all of the stolen property was recovered and he submitted that the offence was out of character for Mr Hackett.

Judge Tom O’Donnell adjourned the matter to June.