herald

Friday 22 September 2017

Keep-fit fan stole watch at the gym

ADDICT: Got hooked on heroin in jail

A GYM-goer who stole a watch worth thousands of euro from a member's bag in the changing room had developed a heroin addiction while he was serving a jail sentence for manslaughter, a court heard.

Father-of-one Michael Cavanagh (49) was using the north Dublin gym when he took another man's gym bag, containing €4,000 worth of property including the watch.

Dublin District Court heard he had had no drug problem before he was given a 10-year sentence for manslaughter and committed a spate of theft offences when he came out of prison to fund his new habit.

As well as the watch theft, he admitted stealing a shop assistant's mobile phone while he was applying for a phone account in a city store.

Judge Grainne Malone adjourned the case against him for a Restorative Justice Programme report. Cavanagh, of Roselawn Road, Castleknock, admitted theft and fraud offences.

The court heard the defendant went to Northwood Gym in Dublin 9 on August 4, 2009 and took the gym bag with the watch. He had access to the gym through his membership of other gyms, the court heard.



Record



On February 7, 2011, Cavanagh went to the 3 Store on Henry Street at 3.35pm. He used a false driving licence and bank statement to get a phone.

The shop assistant left his own phone while dealing with Cavanagh.

While he turned away, the accused took the phone, which was worth €363.

The documents were accepted at the time, but later, the manager saw photocopies, became suspicious and called the gardai.

Cavanagh had a total of 22 previous convictions for offences including manslaughter in 2002. He was co-operative in both investigations and pointed himself out to gardai on CCTV footage of the gym theft.

The bank statement was found in a search of his home.

Cavanagh appreciated the gravity of the offences with which he was charged and apologised to the gardai and the victims, his barrister said. He had a reasonably good work history before serving eight years of a 10-year manslaughter sentence.

"While in prison he shared a cell with two individuals who were addicted to heroin and he eventually succumbed to those pressures and left prison in 2008 in the grip of a heroin addiction," his barrister said.

The defendant was now on a methadone programme. He had a reasonably good work record before he was jailed.

aphelan@herald.ie

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