A burglar who was caught after his DNA was found on an empty bottle he left behind in the victim’s bedroom has been jailed for three and a half years.
William Nolan (31) also left DNA in a sock that was found beside the house, which he had taken from the victim’s home to cover his hand so as not to leave fingerprints at the scene.
Nolan stole jewellery and a BMW from the homeowners, later telling gardaí that he sold them for about €300 or €400 to get money for drugs.
The court heard that the burglary was one of a “tsunami of offences” Nolan carried out at the time while he was addicted to tablets.
Nolan, of Kiltalown Path, Jobstown, Tallaght, Dublin, was jailed for eight and half years in April 2020 by Judge Pauline Codd.
He had pleaded guilty to burglary, criminal damage and endangerment at various locations in Tallaght on May 4th, 2019. He also pleaded guilty to burglary at Allied Foods, Tallaght, on March 29th, 2019. He is due for release in 2025 on these charges.
On Wednesday, Nolan was sentenced on a separate offence after he pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal to burglary of a house in Ranelagh and theft of the homeowner’s car on May 1st, 2019.
He has 148 previous convictions for offences including criminal damage, burglary, theft, endangerment, stealing cars and road traffic offences.
Judge Elma Sheahan sentenced him to five years with the final 18 months suspended.
She commended Detective Garda Derek McGrath for “the fairness in which he presented the evidence in the case” after he told the court that Nolan genuinely had no recollection of the burglary because of his level of intoxication.
Judge Sheahan accepted Nolan’s remorse as genuine and that he wishes to rehabilitate and “turn things around for himself and his family”.
She said the court accepted Nolan should be encouraged to deal with his addiction, suspended the final 18 months of his sentence on the condition that he engages with the Probation Service for two years and undergo any courses recommended to him.
Det Gda McGrath said that when questioned by gardaí in August 2020, Nolan genuinely had no recollection of the burglary, but admitted that he had been committing burglaries in that area at the time.
He also admitted that he would usually take a sock from the house to cover his hand so as not to leave behind fingerprints.
Det Gda McGrath told Pieter Le Vert BL, prosecuting, that the homeowners were not there at the time and came home to find their house ransacked, jewellery taken and the car missing.
The man noticed that an empty bottle was sitting on the bed in the couple’s bedroom and later found his wife’s sock in a lane near the house, both of which he handed over to gardaí.
Det Gda McGrath said that it took over a year for the results in relation to the DNA to come back to him which was why there was a delay in the prosecution of the case.
He said Nolan told him in interview that he was abusing tablets at the time, that he had been buying on the street and it had been the worst point in his life.
Det Gda McGrath agreed with a suggestion from Mr Le Vert that the addiction had “a devastating effect on him physically and mentally, in that he lost his family and freedom and anything else important to him”.
“It was a sad situation,” the detective said before he accepted that there was “no violence in his nature” when Nolan was off tablets.
“He wanted to help us with his enquires,” Det Gda McGrath said before he added that he believes Nolan’s remorse was genuine.
Sarah-Jane O’Callaghan BL, defending, told Judge Sheahan that her client is “willing to put his hands up and admit that he has made shocking decisions”.
She said a letter from him “speaks to the fact that he has made these choices and he cannot blame anyone” before counsel outlined that he had a difficult background.
Nolan’s mother left the family because of the level of violence in the home and Nolan “then bore the brunt of all that violence from his father”, Ms O’Callaghan said.
She said her client hopes to turn his life around. “Only time will tell if he can form a proper relationship with his two children, whom he adores,” counsel submitted.
Ms O’Callaghan also suggested that if the forensics in the case had not delayed the prosecution, this offence could have been dealt with in the other cases in April 2020.