herald

Monday 11 December 2017

DPP wants tougher jail term for thug who beat elderly couple in home

Frail Eva Sutton was attacked in her home in Bray
Frail Eva Sutton was attacked in her home in Bray

The Director of Public Prosecutions is appealing against the prison term handed down to a thug described as a "menace to society" after he terrorised an elderly couple in their home.

Carl Freeman (22) was last month handed a seven-year term, with three years suspended, after he and an accomplice viciously attacked William and Kathleen Crean in the early hours of the morning.

The couple suffered severe injuries, with Mr Crean (72) beaten with a hurley as his wife was pulled from her bed by the neck.

Ms Crean (65) is suffering from cancer and is forced to wear two bags to collect fluid from her kidneys, a court heard last month.

Freeman, described by a judge as a "menace to society", shouted "we want your f**king gold, silver and cash" at the Creans.

He and his accomplice also demanded the terrified couple hand over guns. There were no weapons in the house at the time.

The couple have since bought an Alsatian dog and carry personal alarms.

In a harrowing victim impact statement last month, Ms Crean detailed the events at their home in Killoughter, Co Wicklow, on March 12, 2015.

"I'm on a lot of medication, which should make me sleep, but I always wake up. The fact that he made me get out of bed really bothers me.

"I don't feel free any more. I am like a prisoner in my own home. I say to myself, 'they won't come back', but you never know.

"I have two bags draining my kidneys and I was so afraid that night."

Mr Crean has also detailed the security measures he has been forced to put in place.

Nervous

"Since the burglary, life has not been the same," he said.

"Everything changed. It has affected me and I am nervous. Someone came into my house to beat us up."

Freeman was caught by gardai after being spotted by an off-duty officer while travelling back from Dublin.

He was sentenced at Wicklow Circuit Court last month to seven years, with three suspended.

He had previously amassed more than 60 convictions for crimes including dangerous driving, endangerment and assault.

The Herald has now learned that the DPP has appealed against the sentence handed down to Freeman.

"It was clearly felt that the length of the sentence and the three years suspended did not fit the crime," a source said last night.

Freeman's accomplice is due to be sentenced later in the year.

The Creans' ordeal is one of a number of cases involving the elderly in recent weeks.

The family of 89-year-old Eva Sutton, from Bray, have told of the ordeal suffered by the pensioner at the hands of ruthless thugs.

Michael Cash (25), formerly of Ashlawn Park, Ballybrack, Co Dublin, was sentenced for false imprisonment, burglary and the serious assault of Ms Sutton at her home in Old Dublin Road, in the Co Wicklow town.

Cash, a father of one, was handed 10 years in prison with the final two years suspended.

His accomplice, Jamie O'Brien (23), received the same sentence .

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