County Limerick criminal stole elderly man’s funeral money 

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Judge Helen Boyle

A COUNTY Limerick criminal has been convicted of stealing €5,350 that an 81-year-old man had saved to pay for his own funeral after he saw him counting the money at his kitchen table.

Abbeyfeale man Jason Coffey (31), who was living in homeless accommodation in Tralee at the time, claimed that he was to be paid for cleaning gutters at the man’s house in Kanturk, Co Cork when he stole the cash, leaving only €150 behind.

Prosecuting Garda Brendan Dunne said the crime was committed on the morning  of July 1, 2020, when the 81-year-old man was counting the €5,500 he had saved to pay for his funeral on to the kitchen table.

“Jason Coffey walked in and told him he was after cleaning his gutters. He picked up a large amount of cash and left €150″.

Garda Dunne told Judge Helen Boyle that no such work had been done and Coffey was tracked down by CCTV in the neighbourhood where he was seen getting into a van and the registration plate was traced.

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When arrested over two months later he claimed that he had only entered the house on invitation of the injured party. Garda Dunne said this was not the case. He also claimed he only took €200 but that was not correct.

Jason Coffey had been living in homeless accommodation in Tralee at the time and now lives with his partner in Abbeyfeale.

He had 73 previous convictions including two counts for robbery, 12 for theft and several for assault.

Defence barrister Katie O’Connell described the burglary as opportunistic and while he took money he did not threaten the old man.

“He saw the open door. There was no threat, no ransacking. He left with money and used it for drugs. He is showing willingness to overcome a difficulty that he never showed before.

“There is a dispute about the amount he took. He was remorseful. Unfortunately, he has had a very difficult life. He had a chronic addiction to cocaine to mask the difficulties from childhood.

Judge Helen Boyle remanded Jason Coffey in custody for sentencing on February 18.