November 6, 2013
Lafferty robbed pensioners twice on bail

Lafferty robbed pensioners twice on bail

A NOTORIOUS Donegal criminal with more than 40 previous convictions terrorised an elderly couple in their home TWICE whilst out on bail for attacking a Kilmacrennan pensioner, we can reveal.

Matthew Lafferty, 21, from Letterkenny, was jailed for three years at the Circuit Court in the town on Tuesday.

He admitted burglar at the home of Ms Anne McFadden on January 18th this year, in an incident in which the brave pensioner chased Lafferty wielding a hatchet.

Now Donegal Daily can reveal that although he was refused bail in the local courts, Lafferty was later released by the High Court in Dublin.

And in July this year whilst living in Mayo he attacked another elderly couple.

Castlebar Circuit Criminal Court heard that a couple in their 70s are living in constant fear, even taking turns to stay up at night to ‘keep watch’, after their home and bed and breakfast was broken into twice in one week.

In a victim-impact statement read out on behalf of Eddie and Maureen Lavelle of Burton Street House Bed and Breakfast, Killala Road, Ballina, the couple detailed their lives in the aftermath of the events of July last.

Mr Eddie Lavelle, 75, said he and his wife were ‘shocked’, ‘traumatised’ and nervous to leave their home since the burglaries.

Mr Lavelle said it was “terrible that young people would go out and target old people” and said the couple still find it difficult to sleep at night.

Lafferty, then of 21 Nephin Court pleaded guilty to burgling the Lavelles’ home on the night of July 22, 2013, leading into July 23, and again on July 28.

Lafferty and his accomplice gained access to an open upstairs window at the gable of the house and stole alcohol and €350. The couple were present in the house at the time.

On July 28, when the Lavelles’ son Eddie and his family were visiting, the court heard that Mrs Lavelle came across the intruders in the dining room.

The court heard that Lafferty’s accomplice, who is ‘still at large’ according to Detective Kevin O’Connor, pushed Mr Lavelle who hit a wall and fell to the ground. Mr Lavelle suffered lower back and arm injuries as a result.

An iPhone 5 belonging to the Lavelles’ son was taken but was recovered the following day.

Mrs Lavelle compared the couple’s home now to ‘Fort Knox’, as they equipped their home with security systems and lighting, but added that they are still unable to sleep at night.

Defence barrister Eoin Garavan said Lafferty came from a dysfunctional family, had a ‘terrible childhood’ and that drugs made him ‘indulge in criminal acts’. Detective Kevin O’Connor said the accused was remorseful.

Before sentencing, Judge Rory McCabe noted that although Lafferty was not the one that pushed Mr Lavelle, he was ‘part and parcel’ of the violence.

Lafferty received a three-year prison sentence for the first charge and a five-year prison sentence for the second. Both sentences will run concurrently.

On Tuesday he was jailed for another three years – to run concurrently – for the attack on Ms McFadden.