A Romanian man labelled the 'Beast from the East' by a judge is seeking to have his 15-month jail term reduced.
Auriel Dinca (42) appeared at Ennis Circuit Court last week, where he is appealing against the prison term imposed on him last month by Judge Patrick Durcan.
Dinca came to the court without a solicitor. Appointed solicitor John Casey said Dinca hasn't a word of English and the appeal hearing would require an interpreter.
However, Dinca's lack of English was no barrier to him targeting and stealing from vulnerable old ladies here after they had used ATMs.
At Ennis District Court last month, Judge Durcan said that Dinca and his five-month pregnant partner, Adriana Neagoe (26), had flown into Ireland from Romania "seeking out vulnerable people with bank accounts and [they] essentially cleared out the bank accounts".
Judge Durcan jailed Dinca for 15 months and imposed a five-month suspended sentence on Neagoe, on condition that she leave Ireland within 14 days under the supervision of the prison authorities.
The couple both have addresses in their native Romania and Judge Durcan said that he was not jailing Neagoe as she had considerably fewer charges than Dinca and had no previous convictions for theft, unlike her partner.
Jailing Dinca, the judge said: "People can't come in from outside like the 'Beast from the East' we complained about earlier this year in a weather sense and now we have it in a human form, 'The Beast from the East' comes in and targets vulnerable people and this court is not tolerating that."
Judge Durcan said the two had "gone on a spree" and that the victims were only fully compensated by their banks and not by the perpetrators of the crime.
Inspector Tom Kennedy told the court that what happened "was at the highest end of deceitful activity I have ever come across".
Insp Kennedy said that the two "while distracting the old ladies would thieve bank cards and go to bank machines and clear out the accounts, and toddle off on their merry way".
The two pleaded guilty to a series of thefts and counsel for both accused said that Dinca carried out the offences as he suffers from a gambling addiction and had stolen the money to pay back loan sharks.
At Ennis Circuit Court, Judge Tom O'Donnell adjourned Dinca's appeal to July 10 to that court and he was escorted back to prison.