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Derry pair refused bail after burglary at home of elderly Donegal brother and sister

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TWO Derry people charged with allegedly breaking into the home of an elderly brother and sister in Moville at the weekend have been refused bail.

Mark Villa (20) of 10 John Street Derry and Michelle Rodgers (30) of 27 Lisfannon Park, Derry, were brought in handcuffs before this morning’s (Monday) special sitting of Letterkenny District Court.

They were charged with burglary at the home of the man and woman, who are in their eighties, at 8 Montgomery Terrace, Moville, at around 11.20 pm on Saturday night.

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Inspector David Kelly told the court he was strenuously objecting to bail on the grounds of the seriousness of the charge and the fact that both defendants were from outside the jurisdiction.

He added there may be further charges to be brought against the pair.

Inspector Kelly said the elderly brother and sister were not home at the time of the incident, however, they returned with other family members while the incident was taking place.

The only person at home was a young girl.

Gardai are alleging that the defendants entered the house through a rear unlocked door, went to an upstairs room which they were in the progress of ransacking when they were disturbed by the girl.

Inspector Kelly said the pair were followed from the house and that Rodgers later became involved in “a scuffle” with a Ms McLaughlin and the injured party suffered “minor bruising.”

The court heard a pair of ear rings and two English half crowns were found in Rodgers’ possession following her arrest.

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Objecting to bail, Inspector Kelly said: “They were caught red handed or as close as possible to it,” Inspector Kelly said.

The court heard Villa has a previous conviction in the Republic of Ireland while both him and Rodgers “are known” to the PSNI.

Defending solicitor Mr Paudge Dorrian said Rodgers was getting a lift back to Derry with Villa when their car crashed so they went looking for accommodation.

“They thought this was a boarding house,” Mr Dorrian said.
“She (Rodgers) had nothing to do with this, but Villa carried out some nefarious works and got into her handbag.

“When she realised it was not a boarding house, she left but there was some kind of commotion and, naturally, she reacted after someone accosted her”

Mr Dorrian added that Rodgers will return from Derry for any future hearings but that Villa was not making a bail application because of his previous conviction.

Mr Dorrian replied that the items stolen from the house were “planted on her” and added that people from Derry have a good record of turning up for hearings after being released on bail.

Inspector Kelly said he could not comment on the character of Derry people but again stressed his fear that Rodgers would not turn up for future sittings.

Judge Paul Kelly refused bail and remanded both defendants in custody to appear via video link at Thursday’s sitting of the court.

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