herald

Wednesday 11 December 2019

One-legged thief carried woolly hat on 'hottest week'

Eddie Valentine was found with a hammer and screwdriver
Eddie Valentine was found with a hammer and screwdriver

A one-legged thief was caught looking into a stranger's car with a shatter hammer in his pocket and a woolly hat, scarf and gloves in his bag during the hottest week of last year.

Eddie Valentine (44) said he was just passing on his bike and not there for any "nefarious" purpose when plain-clothes gardai encountered him.

He claimed he found the hammer on a wall and a Stanley blade in his pocket was for putting up wallpaper at home.

Judge John Hughes said Valentine's evidence was not credible and jailed him for nine months, with another three suspended.

Valentine, from Carrickmount Drive, Rathfarnham, pleaded not guilty to having implements for use in a theft, and possession of the blade as a weapon.

Dublin District Court heard gardai John Paul Dalton and Lisa Galvin were on patrol in Churchtown on July 1 last year when they saw Valentine with a bike, leaning up against a car parked at the roadside.

Hammer

Valentine was looking into the car and had a glass-shattering hammer in his hoodie pocket, which the gardai believed was for breaking into vehicles.

He was arrested and in his backpack gardai found a woollen hat, scarf and gloves and a screwdriver.

"This was the hottest week of the year, and I believed they were to be used in the course of a theft," Gda Dalton said.

Before he was searched, he handed over a Stanley blade from his pocket so the garda would not harm himself.

Valentine said the items were in a bag that he carried around "all the time".

He said he did not know he had the blade, and must have put it in his pocket after wallpapering at home.

Separately, he admitted stealing three bottles of spirits from Supervalu, Knocklyon, last November 10.

He has 79 prior convictions, including for theft and burglary.

Valentine's life had been "dogged" by heroin abuse, to the point where he lost a leg because of septicaemia, his lawyer said.

His memory was heavily affected by his past alcohol and drug use.

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