Couple who appeared at Longford court jailed for litany of thefts in serious ‘crime spree’
Judge Seamus Hughes has jailed a couple for a number of thefts following a brief hearing at last week’s sitting of Longford District Court.
Megan Gaffey, of no fixed address, was arrested on Monday night, February 1 and charged with seven counts of theft before appearing in court last Tuesday morning.
Gda Aidan Hynes of Athlone Garda Station explained that the majority of property had been recovered at a residential address, where Ms Gaffey’s cousin lived.
Mark Costigan, The Frederick B&B, 48 Hardwick Street, Dublin 1, was also arrested on Monday night and charged with two counts of theft to which he replied “Is that the only charges I’m getting?”, Gda Hynes told the court.
Ms Gaffey, the court heard, had 51 previous convictions, 44 of which are for theft, while Mr Costigan had 17 previous convictions.
None were for attempted robbery, Gda Hynes explained, but he had a number for attempted robbery, production of an article and threats to kill.
The conviction for threats to kill, Gda Hynes added, was in 2015 and Mr Costigan was on a suspended sentence when he committed the offence. He was given a six year prison sentence.
Ms Gaffey, the court heard, was not living in Athlone but has family in Athlone, while Mr Costigan was only in Athlone because he is Ms Gaffy’s boyfriend.
Gardaí explained to the court that they thought the couple was robbing to stay in certain locations.
“The slow cooker, for example, may have been handed over for rent,” said Gda Hynes.
The court heard that Mr Costigan’s father died tragically in a gang-related incident in Dublin and that money was owed with the accused currently under threat in Dublin. The couple’s solicitor explained that “every time he pays money to these people, they up the amount of money owed”.
Ms Gaffey, he added, is pregnant and has had a tragic life with some children being taken into care. She has also been on the streets and spent some time in prison but both accused were hoping to return to Dublin.
“They are in a steady relationship and Ms Gaffey wants to move on, have this child and hold onto and keep this child,” the solicitor explained, adding that the pair will stay away from Athlone.
“She came out of prison at the end of November and since then you immediately came to my attention,” Judge Hughes said.
“Today you have seven charges, so you went on a crime spree. There is nothing here to say you won’t continue with this lifestyle. She was in Athlone for two weeks and has committed several offences - all within the hundreds of euros.
“For the theft from Dunnes, I’m sentencing you to eight months and taking into account your remission, so you’ll be out before your child is born. You’ll be in a safe place and won’t commit another crime,” he said, noticing that Ms Gaffey had started to cry.
“I’m sorry to see you upset. It upsets me to see you upset but you brought this upon yourself and the prison authorities, I’m sure, will be good to you. For all other charge sheets, a concurrent sentence.”
Judge Hughes noted that Mr Costigan, with 51 previous convictions, didn’t have “as bad a record” but has “a very serious record” and would also be going to prison.
“For taking alcohol, I’m sentencing him to six months and a concurrent sentence on all other charges,” he concluded.