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Man who pushed way into elderly woman’s home jailed

A man who pushed his way into the home of an 80-year-old woman and caused her injuries has been sentenced to four years in prison.

Dublin Circuit Criminal Court heard that James Maloney, 44 and of Mellows Park, Finglas, Dublin 11, pleaded guilty to assault causing harm and attempting to commit theft at a property in Santry on 1 February 2023. He has 38 previous convictions.

Passing sentence, Judge Elma Sheahan said the aggravating factors in this case were the seriousness of the offending and that the offence was carried out at a private dwelling where an elderly lady resided.

Judge Sheahan said she would consider the defendant’s guilty plea, his committing of this offending under duress to pay off an outstanding drug debt, and his remorse and apology for his actions as mitigating factors.

The judge said this was a mid-level offence and sentenced Maloney to four years in prison on the attempted burglary charge and two years and four months for the assault causing harm charge.

Both sentences are to run concurrently.

“From the letters handed into the court, I can see that this defendant is making efforts to rehabilitate, and I will suspend the final six months of his sentence for six months,” Judge Sheahan said.

Detective Garda Andrew McDonald told Eoin Lawlor, BL, prosecuting, that an 80-year-old woman was at home at 3pm on the day in question when her doorbell rang.

When she answered the door, Maloney was standing there with paperwork in his hands and began asking her questions.

The court heard that the woman attempted to close her front door, but Maloney stopped her. She made several more attempts to close the door but failed.

Maloney then pushed the front door towards her and also pushed the woman, who fell to the floor and hit her head. Maloney then shouted at the woman: “The keys of the car, the keys, the keys”.

Det Gda McDonald said the woman told him they were in the living room, and when he went to get them, she ran shouting for help from her home. Her neighbour was driving past, and Maloney fled the scene.

The gardaí were called, and the woman was taken to the Mater Misericordiae Hospital, where she was found to have a head injury and injuries to her arm and hand.

The court heard that CCTV footage was obtained, and Maloney was identified. He later attended Ballymun Garda Station voluntarily.

He admitted to carrying out the offence and said he did so under duress as he had a drug debt.

A victim impact statement was handed into the court, which outlined the woman’s injuries and that she had a wait of over 12 hours in the A&E department.

She said she is “more cautious and had replaced her front door at a cost of €3,000”.

Det Gda McDonald agreed with David Perry BL, defending that his client was homeless and a drug user at the time of this offence.

The garda agreed with counsel that Maloney made significant admissions during his interview and expressed remorse to the gardaí for his actions.

Mr Perry said his client is “profoundly apologetic and is remorseful towards the injured party” and has written a letter of apology to her.

Counsel said his client had worked as a carpenter and landscape gardener, but the wheels had come off due to a number of circumstances, which included the death of his sister and his business falling apart.

Maloney then began to use drugs to deal with his stress and anxiety, and started on a downward spiral.

He said on the day of the offence, Maloney had been drinking due to the first anniversary of his friend’s death.

His client is now living with a friend, he said, is engaging with a drug counsellor and is on a methadone maintenance programme.

He asked the court to take into account the guilty plea and the remorse his client has shown.

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