Burglar detected by mobile call made to his father from Ashe Memorial Hall

A man who broke into the Ashe Memorial Hall in Tralee and stole a mobile phone and a bottle of wine has been sentenced to 18 months in jail.

Thomas McDonagh of 6 O’Connell’s Avenue, Listowel was sent forward for trail to Tralee Circuit Criminal Court when a district court judge refused jurisdiction.

The 38-year-old had 104 previous convictions.

Thomas McDonagh was detected after he had made a telephone call to his father in Galway from a mobile phone he found at the Kerry County Museum office in Ashe Memorial Hall.

He stole €40 from the petty cash and also drank a bottle of wine that was in the Rose of Tralee office in the same building.

His barrister Richard Liston said he had been in a distressed state since his mother’s death on his birthday and had phoned his father.

The accused pleaded guilty to two counts of burglary at the Ashe Memorial Hall, two counts of theft at the Basin and Rock Street, Tralee, causing criminal damage to a car at Rock Street, and possession of stolen property.

The offences occurred between April 21st and May 21st, this year.

Aggravating factors included the accused’s 104 previous convictions.

Judge Tom O’Donnell said although Mr McDonagh had served several sentences, he still continued to offend.

The judge imposed two concurrent three-year sentences, suspending the last 18th months, and two concurrent 18-month sentences. He took the other matters before the court into account.

The prison sentences were backdated to May 21st.