Pensioner chased intruder with hatchet

A 69-year-old Kilmacrennan woman managed to chase a burglar, 21, out of her bedroom with a hatchet, Letterkenny Circuit Court heard.

Matthew Lafferty of Ballykeeran, Kilmacrennan was jailed for three years for burglary and criminal damage at the home of pensioner Ann McFadden, Keenagh, Kilmacrennan, on January 18.

Ms McFadden called the gardaí at 4am when awoken by Lafferty who went to her locked bedroom and kicked open the door. When he entered she “made a swing at him” with the hatchet, prosecution barrister, Patricia McLaughlin BL, told the court. Lafferty shone a torch light into her eyes and took off down stairs. When Gardai arrived they went to Lafferty’s home and saw him rifling through a floral handbag that belonging to his victim. He was arrested and brought to Letterkenny garda station but was deemed unfit to be questioned until later. Lafferty has 47 previous convictions. His mother, Laura Lafferty, said her son was addicted to drugs and they moved several times to removed him from the company he kept but this did not work and said he needed psychiatric help.

Judge John O’Hagan said he was “caught red handed”, adding older people in society need to be protected.