‘Helper’ stole cash from 82-year-old woman

Ennis courthouse
Ennis Courthouse

CCTV installed by the family of a then 82-year-old south east Clare woman in her bedroom detected a home help stealing €100 from the woman’s wallet, a court has heard.

At Killaloe District Court sitting in Ennis, solicitor for Caoimhe Kelly (27) Daragh Hassett acknowledged that his client’s theft offence was “a nasty thing to do and a breach of trust”.

Mother of two young children, Caoimhe Kelly of Church Fields, Clonlara, Co Clare pleaded guilty to the €100 theft from Mary Foote at her home at Lower Ardnatagle, O’Brien’s Bridge in south east Clare on October 7th 2021.

In evidence, Garda Aine Troy told the court that she received a report from Mary Foote – now deceased – that a sum of money had been stolen from her home.

Garda Troy said that her family “had become suspicious and placed cameras in her bedroom”.

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Garda Troy said that a young girl,  Caoimhe Kelly used to call and on October 7 2021, Ms Kelly requested to use Ms Foote’s bathroom

She then entered her bedroom and went through her handbag and was seen taking the money from her handbag.

She said that “Gardai arrived and arrested Ms Kelly after viewing the CCTV which was very clear that she had taken the money – a sum of €100 on this occasion”.

Garda Troy said that Ms Kelly has no previous convictions.

In court, Mr Hassett on behalf of his client handed over €100 and Garda Troy said this can be paid to Mary Foote’s daughter, Mary.

The court was told that Ms Kelly is currently on social welfare and Judge Alec Gabbett was told that Ms Kelly “was helping out with this lady” when he asked what was her occupation at the time.

Mr Hassett said that Ms Kelly “is so sorry over what happened. It was a nasty crime”.

Mr Hassett said that Ms Kelly “pleaded guilty on the first available day” and “had fallen on very hard times”.

He said: “There is no excuse – she had built up debts including significant bills at home. There was an opportunity and she succumbed to temptation.”

Mr Hassett added: “It hasn’t happened before or since and when Gardai came to her door, she put her hands up immediately and admitted what she did.”

Mr Hassett said that Ms Kelly “is mortified. She has been convicted, tried and sentenced in her own local community for what happened. The word is out there about what she has done.”

Mr Hassett said it was a “once off”.

Mr Hassett asked that Judge Gabbett impose the Probation Act rather than impose a conviction.

He said: “If Ms Kelly had previous convictions, I wouldn’t be making the application.”

Judge Gabbett said: “What troubles me is that she was in a care position.”

Mr Hasset said: “It is an area she would like to stay in and I would ask that you leave her without a conviction.”

He said: “It is an area she is skilled in and there is a need for the likes of her. She shouldn’t have done this.”

However, Judge Gabbett convicted the woman of theft and imposed a fine of €200.

Mr Hassett asked that Judge Gabbett fix recognisance in the event of an appeal against his order to the circuit court.