Woman who stole from graves “didn’t show an ounce of empathy,” judge says

A woman who stole from graves and desecrated graves “has not shown an ounce of empathy for the consequences of her behavior,” a judge said today.

Judge Mary Larkin was testifying in Killaloe District Court in Ennis, Co Clare, regarding Mairead O’Sullivan, 42, who has filed 18 separate guilty pleas on charges of stealing items totaling €597.50 from graveyard graves Drumcliffe and Templemaley outside of Ennis and also from Tulla Cemetery.

There are 14 victims in the case as Mrs O’Sullivan of Fergus View, Cappahard, Tulla Road, Ennis stole from the same graves on several occasions.

Speaking to the same court in May, mother Kirsty Donnellan described as “purely evil” the actions of Mrs O’Sullivan, who stole and desecrated her daughter’s grave on three separate occasions.

Ms Donnellan told the court she was “in a state of shock, anger and despair” to find her daughter Scarlett’s grave had been desecrated in May 2020.

Ms Donnellan said that having someone disturb their child’s grave and steal objects from it is “the most heinous crime one could ever be the victim of”.

In the course of her victim testimony, the mother of three told the court that eldest daughter Scarlett, 17, died just 20 months before her grave was stolen in Tulla Cemetery.

Judge Larkin adjourned the case for a parole report on Ms. O’Sullivan until today, and the judge commented that Ms. O’Sullivan had shown “a complete lack of empathy” for the victims of her crime.

Judge Larkin said: “Ms. O’Sullivan has not shown an ounce of empathy for the consequences of her behavior for what she did and the impact it had on people.

“She just went along and helped herself to ornaments because she thought she would like them in her house.”

In response, Ms. O’Sullivan’s attorney, Tara Godfrey, said, “It wasn’t on the parole report. Mrs. O’Sullivan did not tell me that she would like the ornaments in her home or garden. ”

In response, Judge Larkin said, “That’s what she said on her parole report.”

Ms Godfrey said all items were recovered from a garage. She said her client “had a rather difficult upbringing.”

She added, “She has a special needs child and her marriage is falling apart and she was reflecting on her father’s death.”

Judge Larkin said she would postpone sentencing until December 6 so that another parole report could be completed on Ms O’Sullivan.

Judge Larkin said: “She must make amends – Ms O’Sullivan must consider the impact and consequences of her actions – and the damage she has caused to the parties entitled to their loved ones rest in peace.

“I want a full investigation here of what’s going on behind her back, and I want to know what she’s willing to do instead of going to jail and doing community service – to make amends.”

Judge Larkin said the impact of Ms O’Sullivan’s crimes was not the monetary value of the items “but the psychological consequences for the people whose graves were tampered with and the families of those left behind”.

The judge said Ms O’Sullivan “must take responsibility for her actions.” Closing the case in court today, Ms O’Sullivan wiped away tears as Ms Godfrey spoke to her in the courtroom.

In her victim impact testimony, Ms Donnellan told the court in May: “These thefts have added to my fear, pain and great loss. As a mother grieving for her child, I should never have to visit my child’s grave to find that it has been disturbed and desecrated. My daughter deserves to rest in peace too.”

Upon discovering the first theft, Ms Donnellan recalled that “on May 16, 2020, as I visited my daughter’s grave, I was in a state of shock, anger, despair and on the verge of tears when I found two holes in her grave where Mrs O’Sullivan had dug up the rose bushes from my daughter’s grave.

“This wasn’t the only time my daughter’s grave was desecrated. Later in the summer of July 2020, items were taken from my daughter’s grave. Again I was in despair, crying and my belief in humanity being questioned as who and why could anyone commit such an act of disrespect and pure evil.”

In a grand larceny at Tulla Cemetery sometime on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day 2020, Ms O’Sullivan stole six ornamental barrels of flowers valued at €90 which belonged to Edel Hanrahan.

The charges, which breach Section 4 of the Theft and Fraud Offenses Act 2001, show that Aileen Tuohy was the victim of Ms O’Sullivan’s grand larceny on three separate occasions in 2020.

Between May 14 and 16, Ms O’Sullivan stole €10 worth of rose bushes belonging to Ms Tuohy in Tulla Cemetery.

On the 12th/13th On July 1, Ms O’Sullivan stole a flower pot worth €2.50 from Ms Tuohy in Tulla Cemetery and two months later, on 3-4. September, Ms O’Sullivan struck again and stole two white solar lanterns worth €2.50 €100 from Ms Tuohy from Tulla Cemetery.

Other items stolen from graves by Ms O’Sullivan included three dahlia plants, a wicker window box, yellow flowers and flower pots.

The thefts began in May 2020 and continued through April 2021 before Gardaí identified Ms O’Sullivan as the perpetrator. The indictments show that the majority of the thefts took place at Tulla Cemetery, which was beaten 15 times over the 11 months by Ms O’Sullivan.

https://www.independent.ie/irish-news/courts/woman-who-stole-from-graves-hasnt-shown-one-ounce-of-empathy-says-judge-41966226.html Woman who stole from graves “didn’t show an ounce of empathy,” judge says

Fry Electronics Team

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