'Old-style' burglar jailed for six years
A MAN who began burgling houses with his father when he was 11 has been jailed for six years after carrying out up to 50 burglaries.
John Matthews (32) of Findlater Street, Glasthule, pleaded guilty to several sample charges related to between 40 and 50 burglaries carried out around the south Dublin area between October 2009 and December 2010.
Garda Liam Lonergan said Matthews' "modus operandi" was to scout out around the local area and break into houses where the occupants had left for the day.
During the burglaries, carried out in Booterstown, Dun Laoghaire, Sandycove, Glenageary and Killiney, Matthews took cash, jewellery, laptops and, in one instance, €20,500 worth of professional camera equipment.
Garda Lonergan told prosecuting counsel Marie Torrens that Matthews has 94 previous convictions going back to 1995, and that 86 of these were burglary or burglary-related offenses.
Judge Martin Nolan said he was an "old-fashioned burglar" who never offered any violence during his burglaries and that when confronted by gardai admitted everything.
Dublin Circuit Criminal Court heard that Matthews even admitted to burglaries he had committed which gardai were unaware of.
Lily Buckley, defending, said that Matthews was aged 11 when he was taken out with his father to carry out burglaries and that he first took heroin at the age of 14.
She said that her client didn't want to be released unless he could get treatment for his chronic drug addiction.
Judge Nolan said Matthews had a "dreadful conviction record" but accepted that he was trying to rehabilitate and change his life.
He said that if he were to sentence Matthews separately on each of the charges before the court he would "break 20 years" but said he had to sentence him in totality.
He imposed a prison sentence of six years in total backdated to March 2011 to reflect the time he had already spent in custody.