A city man who went on a spree of car thefts and burglaries over, has been jailed for 22 months by Galway District Court.
In imposing the sentence, Judge Mary Fahy said it would have been lengthier, except she was restricted to a total of 24 months.
“It probably should have been dealt with at a higher court, but the DPP [Director of Public Prosecutions] decided to go for summary disposal,” she said.
Matthew Goldbey (27), with an address at 174 Leargán, Knocknacarra, was also banned from driving for seven years.
Garda John Kerrigan said that all of the incidents had taken place in mid to late August this year. In the early hours of August 29, Gardaí were alerted to an alarm activation at Barna Pharmacy. The front glass door and window had been smashed by a rock, which was found on the shop floor.
Another door, leading into the dispensary, had also been smashed. Approximately €500 in cash was missing from the cash register – which was removed altogether – and from a cash box in the dispensary. The damage was estimated to be in the region of €1,000.
CCTV footage was examined, and two culprits were identified – Goldbey, and his younger brother, Ryan (22).
They were subsequently arrested, and detained at Galway Garda Station, where they made full admissions in relation to this burglary. However, none of the cash was returned.
Matthew Goldbey was also questioned about other crimes, including a burglary at a house in Creagan, Barna, around the same time as the pharmacy was targeted. This home was unoccupied, but the side door was kicked in, and a Sony Bravia TV, valued at €900, was stolen – it was never recovered.
A second burglary had taken place at Binn Bhán on the Western Distributor Road between August 26-29, through which entry was gained via an unlocked front door.
Car keys were stolen, along with a BMW from the driveway – both items were recovered undamaged.
He admitted to his part in another burglary at an occupied home in Leargán on August 22. There was no confrontation with the homeowners, but car keys, a phone, and a vehicle were stolen. The car was missing for a week and, when it was finally recovered, there were no keys in it. The owner faced the expense of replacing them, the court was told.
A second burglary of a home in Leargán took place between August 10-22, during which two sets of car keys were taken, and a VW Polo removed from the driveway. It was later found nearby.
“He admitted having the keys in his possession and driving it, but made no admission in relation to entering the home – the car was in good condition, but the car keys were not recovered,” Garda Kerrigan added.
The court heard that Matthew Golbey had 60 previous convictions, which his solicitor, Brian Gilmartin, blamed on his addictions. He said that the defendant was now a father, and that his main focus was on dealing with his charges to be free to raise his child. Judge Fahy was not convinced, however.
“There is a litany of suspended sentences from this and higher courts, and no time spent in any manner dealing with his difficulties,” she said.
“We know all about him, but nothing about the victims – just because they didn’t want to come into court doesn’t mean they are not victims.
“Their cars were stolen, their houses burgled, and the violence used – windows and doors kicked in, and rocks thrown.
“Our top jurisdiction (in District Court) is two years, and he has to get some dispensation for pleading. These people are at the expense of their new keys, and at the inconvenience – one person was missing their car for a week. In his favour, he has pleaded, and he made admissions while in custody on other matters.”
For the burglary at the occupied house in Leargán, a nine-month sentence was imposed; a further nine months for a similar offence at An Creagan, and a four-month sentence for the burglary at Barna Pharmacy. All of the other offences were marked with concurrent sentences. His prison term was backdated to August 30, the date that he was taken into custody.
Recognisances were fixed, in the event of an appeal, on his own surety of €500, and an independent surety of €1,600. The conditions of which are that he does not drive any vehicle pending appeal.
Ryan Goldbey, meanwhile, the court was told, had 49 previous convictions – among them 10 for burglary. He was sentenced to 10 months imprisonment for the Barna Pharmacy burglary.