AN ELDERLY woman is afraid in her own home following a robbery where a man pointed a screwdriver at her chest and left her in fear for her life.
John Doyle of no fixed abode, who has several previous convictions including two for manslaughter pleaded guilty to a string of offences on May 29, 2011.
Garda Shane Elliffe said that on the date in question John Doyle Snr and his son John Doyle Jnr travelled to Inistioge with a 15-year-old girl. “At 12.30pm they drove the vehicle to Woodstock gardens and John Doyle Snr broke into two vehicles and stole two handbags and cash. One of the bags was valued at €250 and the other bag was valued at €100, along with €150 in cash. The three drove onto Ballyduff and broke into a house and John Doyle Snr stole €850 worth of jewellery. John Doyle Jnr kept watch and the house was empty at the time.
“The three drove to Clodiagh Church and broke into another car. John Doyle Snr stole a man’s washbag, whose contents were values at €100 and John Doyle Jnr slashed the wheel. He was observed slashing the wheel by the injured party as he left the scene.”
They then drove to the home of an 84-year-old woman who was living alone in a rural area. “She was upstairs when she heard the doorbell. She was not expecting anyone and heard a noise downstairs. She went downstairs she saw John Doyle Jnr at the window and she went to get her phone. When she reached the landing she was confonted by John Doyle Snr with a screwdriver in his hand. He chased her down the stairs into the kitchen. The back door was locked and she couldn’t get out.
“John Doyle Snr repeatedly told her to give him money. She was completely terrified and he forced her back to the bedroom and told her to give him cash. She gave him €150 in cash. John Doyle Snr was very close to her at all time. One time he pushed the screwdriver close to her chest and she seriously thought she was going to be stabbed. He opened her bag and took another €60 and ransacked the room and stole jewellery which was not expensive but had huge sentimental value. He left the house having gained entry through an open upstairs window at the back and John Doyle Jnr remained outside keeping watch. None of the property was recovered,” the garda said.
After leaving the house they drove back towards the village of Inistioge where they met with a nun who had taken a picture on the bridge. John Doyle Snr approached the woman and asked if she knew of a good place to go fishing. She told him to go to Thomastown and he got into the car and drove off. The nun subsequently drove off and was waved down by a young girl a short time later whom she recognised as being the minor in the car of John Doyle Snr. She went to let the window down and the girl was asking for directions to Thomastown when John Doyle Snr appeared at the drivers door but did not speak. “He reached in the window and tried to reach for the key. The keyring broke and the nun cut her hand. John Doyle Snr threw the key over the ditch and his intention was the steal the bag. The young girl stole a number of items while the struggle over the keys was ongoing.
“John Doyle Snr then drove on to Thomastown where he was stopped at the quay and all three were arrested. John Doyle Snr was interviewed six times and refused to co-operate during the first four interviews. On one occasion John Doyle Snr stole a personal mobile phone belonging to a garda from an office in the station which he later used to make telephone calls,” added Garda Elliffe. John Doyle Snr was subsequently identified in an identification parade and following the parade John Doyle Snr admitted his involvement. The court heard that John Doyle Senior has 18 previous convictions in this jurisdiction and 24 in the UK. He was released from prison in February 2011 having been convicted of manslaughter in 2002 and sentenced to 15 years. The conviction arose from an incident where the defendant broke into the farm of an 86-year-old who died during the course of the robbery. He also has a conviction for manslaughter dating back to 1984 when he was sentenced to three years in prison for the death of an 82-year-old man who died as a result of injuries inflicted on him by Mr Doyle Snr.
Garda Elliffe outlined to the court that the 86-year victim is a widow who lives alone. “She is absolutely petrified in the extreme and has difficulty sleeping and is extremely afraid. She feels like she is living in constant fear, she has lived in that house for over sixty years but she has had to stay with neighbours on occasion since this event,” he said.
In relation to the nun Garda Elliffe said that she was ‘very shaken’. “She resides in a convent and has the support of members of her order. She was very shaken,” said the garda.
Judge Alice Doyle described it as ‘a depraved and shocking crime’. “John Doyle Snr took his son on a criminal spree of robbing and frightening people,” she said. She remarked that it was a ‘cowardly and vicious act on an 84-year-old. “That shouldn’t happen to anyone. That woman should be allowed to live on her own in peace and comfort but that has been ruined.. He is very lucky that she is robust enough and didn’t die from a heart attack at the sight of him,” she said.
She convicted John Doyle Snr and sentenced him to nine years and suspended the final 18 months on condition that he be of good behaviour and keep the peace and attend the probation services and anger management.
In relation to John Doyle Jnr, who has an address at 11 Moyglass Road, Grifeen Valley, Lucan Dublin she imposed an 18 month sentence which she suspended in it’s entirety. “He had an extremely dysfunctional upbringing and he has done well to only come before the court on this occasion. There is no doubt that he was under his father’s domicile and influence,” she said when passing sentence.