A burglar who stole sentimental photos from a woman who lost a loved one in a tragic car crash has been jailed for a year.
William Reilly, 25, broke into the home of Bernie Breslin in Letterkenny while she was working nights.
Together with two others, they went through her house and took personal items including photos and more than €2,500 worth of jewellery including an engagement ring.
Reilly, a father of two, was caught on CCTV and arrested by Gardai.
He appeared at Letterkenny District Court charged with burglary and obstruction of Gardai.
Detective Sgt Joe Kealy that the burglary at Ms Breslin’s home happened during a spate of burglaries across the Letterkenny area.
In a ten week period, a total of 25 burglaries had taken place and Gardai had identified suspects.
Sgt Kealy said that every effort was made by Gardai to get the sentimental items returned to Ms Breslin but they had not been returned.
Solicitor for the accused, Mr Patsy Gallagher, said his client was unable to help Gardai as he did not handle the goods.
However, Sgt Kealy said he did not believe that this was the case.
“I think he could have got the property back,” said the detective.
Solicitor Mr Gallagher said his client suffered from various addictions and that he had an issue with the Gardai.
“As my father would say – “He should disengage his mouth and open his ears more,” he said.
He said his past had caught up with him but he asked if he could be allowed time to come up with some form of compensation for Ms Breslin.
The court heard that Reilly has 36 previous convictions for a range of offences including burglary, theft, assault and having no insurance.
Judge Paul Kelly said he was imposing a custodial sentence saying “This lady cannot put a price on the items stolen.”
He sentenced Reilly, of Glenard Park, Long Lane, Letterkenny, to nine months in prison for burglary and a further three months for obstructing Gardai during a search at his home.
He also ordered Reilly to pay compensation of €2,500 to Ms Breslin and allowed him 12 months to pay.