A couple who terrorised the boyfriend of an acquaintance when they were told he had lots of money have been sentenced to a total of 12 years for burglary and theft of over €16,000.
Carlos Lawrence (27) of Rosary Road, Maryland, Dublin 8, pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to theft and aggravated burglary while armed with a wedge hammer, at Wainsfort Manor Grove, Terenure, Dublin, on December 13, 2017. He has 51 previous convictions for robbery, possession of an imitation firearm, hi-jacking, theft, criminal damage and road traffic offences.
His partner and mother of his twin boys, Catherine Dempsey (26) of Michael Mallin House, Vicar Street, Dublin 8, pleaded guilty to stealing €15,000 in cash and burglary at the same time and same place. She has seven previous convictions, six of which arose out of the same incident.
Judge Melanie Greally had previously adjourned the case after hearing evidence earlier this month.
Today she said Lawrence had been the protagonist. “He alone made the threats, he alone used the hammer and he was responsible for the violence,” Judge Greally said. She noted the offence was “committed against a man in his own home”.
She accepted that Dempsey was “unaware of the full extent of Lawrence’s intentions”. She said the State also accepted this, as it was reflected in the charges brought against Dempsey.
The judge acknowledged that Lawrence had expressed remorse both to the victim and Dempsey. She said he was someone of intelligence who was “capable of productivity when he is drug free”.
Dempsey was sentenced to five years with the final three years suspended after Judge Greally took into account the fact that she was “acting under pressure”, that she expressed remorse and that a probation report puts her at “a low risk of re-offending”.
Lawrence was sentenced to seven years with the final 12 months suspended after the judge allowed for the fact that he was “in the throes of a severe drug addiction” at the time, that he had expressed remorse, had a good work history and difficult background.
Judge Greally said Lawrence had “immense potential to be a productive member of society”.
Detective Sergeant Jason Miley told Antonia Boyle BL, prosecuting at the sentence hearing earlier this month, that Alan Greene was asleep in his bedroom when Lawrence smashed through the glass of the room’s French doors with a hammer.
Mr Greene immediately struggled with the intruder, who was dressed all in black with a scarf around his nose and mouth, but the man managed to get inside.
The house alarm was sounding and Lawrence instructed Mr Greene to switch it off, before telling him to open the front door to allow Dempsey into the apartment. The court heard Dempsey also had her face covered.
The pair started shouting at him and demanded money, telling Mr Greene that “G” had told him that he had lots of money.
Det Sgt Miley confirmed that G was Mr Greene’s partner and they had been in a relationship for a number of years. Later in evidence, he said that Mr Greene’s brother told gardaí that while Mr Greene “was emotionally invested in the relationship, G was financially invested in it”.
He said that Mr Greene became aware that G was a drug addict a few months previously and had tried to help her. She had moved out of his home but he had continued to support her financially.
G introduced Mr Greene to both Lawrence and Dempsey two months previously and he had agreed to invest in Lawrence’s new business venture as the man had promised to give G a job.
Det Sgt Miley said on the night of the burglary, Lawrence took Mr Greene’s phone and made a number of calls. He claimed that G owed him €200,000 after she stole a stash of crack cocaine and he said Mr Greene would have to pay for it.
He ultimately made Mr Greene speak to a woman on the phone who said that “everything could be settled for €9,000”. He promised to go to the bank in the morning to withdraw the cash.
The apartment was ransacked and €150 was recovered before Mr Greene was made withdraw cash from a local ATM using two different cards. The couple stole a total of €1,200 in these transactions.
Mr Greene was told to drive to McDonalds where he went in and bought food. He later told gardaí that while they were eating the take-out back at his apartment, Lawrence’s scarf slipped and he recognised him. He said at one point Dempsey left the house but returned without her face covered.
The following morning Dempsey accompanied him to the bank where he ultimately withdrew €15,000 after waiting an hour for the cash to be prepared for him. While waiting for the money he was told to drive to a garage on the Kylemore Road where Lawrence picked up a Mercedes.
Det Sgt Miley said when Mr Greene handed over the €15,000, Lawrence returned his phone to him and offered to give him the Mercedes but the man refused to take the car. He returned home and the gardaí were later alerted.
Gardaí arrived at the couples’ home later that day and €12,500 was recovered from Dempsey, half of which was on her person and the other half of which was in her handbag.
Det Sgt Miley said nothing came out of Lawrence’s interview with gardaí but Dempsey said she was put under pressure to go into the bank with Mr Greene. She accepted that he was threatened with violence in his home but said she had not threatened him.
A victim impact statement from Mr Greene acknowledged that €12,455 was returned to him of the €16,350 stolen.
He said the burglary takes over all of his thoughts of the day. He dreads night-time and has stopped spending time at home. He blocks up his doors with chairs and is waiting for them to come back and hurt him. “The real impact is being at home alone,” the statement read.