Judge Elizabeth MacGrath: Suspended jail for man who has agreed to leave the country following theft
A man who came to Ireland for a holiday to visit friends stole part of the life savings of an elderly woman, Nenagh Court was told.
Iulian Cretu, a Romanian national, appeared in court by video link from Limerick Prison. He pleaded guilty to stealing a purse belonging to the woman at Annbrook, Nenagh, on December 19, 2020.
The contents of the purse included cash of €500 and a Bank of Ireland deposit card.
The 23-year-old also pleaded guilty on the same date to stealing €1,000 from the woman’s bank account at the Bank of Ireland branch at Mitchel Street, Nenagh, and to stealing a further €395.54 from her account at the post office, Ashe Road, Nenagh.
Solicitor Elizabeth McKeever, for Mr Cretu, said full compensation had been paid. Mr Cretu came from a “respectable family” and had never been in trouble before.
Ms McKeever told the court her client came to Ireland before Christmas and “very foolishly got involved with individuals who were stealing from very vulnerable people”.
Mr Cretu had acted as driver of the car that had been used in the incident in Nenagh and was not directly involved in the theft of the purse or taking the cash of from her account.
He had admitted that it was a joint enterprise that he had taken part in. Another two, if not three individuals, were involved, the court heard.
Ms McKeever said it was her client who rented the car and it was that move that enabled gardaí trace the crimes back to him.
She said Mr Cretu had claimed that he had been told that he would get €100 and the others would pay for his petrol for his part in the crimes
He had cousins living in Bray, County Wicklow, who were embarrassed over what had happened. They had arranged for the compensation of €1,900 for the woman to be sent from Romania, said Ms McKeever.
Her client had also recently been before a court in Cork in relation to a separate issue where he had given an undertaking to leave the country. He was now giving the same undertaking again.
He had been in custody since January 5 in relation to the Nenagh offences and he had spent time in custody previously over the Christmas period in relation to the matter that had taken place in Cork.
Ms McKeever said the money stolen in Nenagh had been part of the woman’s life savings and Mr Cretu had become visibly upset when he was told that.
Judge MacGrath asked why the defendant had decided to come to Ireland in the first place.
Ms McKeever said her client had said he came for a holiday and to meet up with a friend who introduced him to two other people.
“It doesn’t look good. It seems he came over with one thing in mind to steal from people. That’s what it looks like,” replied the judge.
She noted that not alone was there an incident in Nenagh, there was also an incident in Cork that the defendant had been involved in.
Ms McKeever said her client appeared to be naive and ill advised. He did not come from a poor background and he had no addictions. What he had done was just foolish and he didn’t know how to get out of it.
The court heard that compensation of €1,900 in cash had been handed in to compensate the injured party.
Judge MacGrath remanded the defendant in custody until this Thursday. She said she intended imposing a prison sentence but would suspend it on condition that Mr Cretu would return to Romania.
She said he would have to be taken from the prison to appear before her in court in order to sign a bond giving the undertaking to leave.
Ms McKeever said she would speak to her client's cousin about the purchase of a plane ticket.
The judge told Ms McKeever she could address her at the sitting on Thursday about how long it will take the defendant, with an address at 44 The Exchange Hall Apartments, Belgard Square, Dublin 14, to leave the country.