A 22-year-old man who told gardaí he had snatched an elderly woman’s handbag outside a local credit union ‘in desperation’ as he was homeless at the time, was jailed for 18 month at Dundalk Circuit Court last week.
The court heard the 76-year-old victim was making her way to Dundalk Credit Union on Market Street at 11.30am on February 11th last when Richard Gray formerly of Woodview Park, Dundalk grabbed her handbag from behind. The bag was secured around the pensioner’s shoulder and she fell to the ground hurting her knees and left elbow. She continued to hold onto her bag and when the straps broke the accused ran off towards Defenders Row with it. However, after people who came to her assistance told her what direction the handbag thief had gone in, the victim found him on Defenders Row standing against a wall – with her bag on the ground between two parked cars.
The injured party subsequently identified him to gardaí who arrived on the scene and the court heard CCTV footage from the credit union clearly showed the victim ending up on the ground and gripping her handbag as the accused tugged at the straps.
Richard Gray told gardaí he had been sleeping rough for the last few days and took the woman’s bag in desperation after spotting her on Clanbrassil Street.
The court heard he had never been in trouble until the age of 26 when his grandfather died and he went off the rails and he had been asked to leave home due to his drug use.
Judge Griffin imposed a three year sentence, with the final 18 months suspended, backdated to February 12th last, when the accused went into custody, as his barrister said his client wished to seek help for his addiction.