Gardaí on alert as violent burglar who beat up widow (89) is released from prison

Gardaí are on alert after a violent Dublin criminal who was involved in the horrific assault and false imprisonment of an 89-year-old woman walked free from prison.

he Irish Independent can reveal that serial offender Michael Cash (28) is back on the streets after serving just four-and-a-half years behind bars.

He was given an eight-year jail term in 2017 over the violent burglary at the Bray home of Eva Sutton who was tied up with dog leads and beaten during a 90-minute ordeal.

The court also heard how Cash and his accomplice claimed they were in the IRA and threatened to shoot the widow during the horrific crime.

Michael Cash, of Ashlawn Park in Ballybrack, pleaded guilty to false imprisonment, assault and burglary at Ms Sutton’s home on September 15, 2015.

His 10-year jail term was suspended for two years and backdated to May 2016, but it has now emerged that the violent thug walked free from the Midlands Prison this morning.

He appeared in court on separate charges last year – where evidence was given that his release date was Christmas Eve 2020 – and escaped further prison time.

One source said: “This break-in wasn’t a once-off for Cash, he has a long history of carrying out burglaries and the concern is that he will hook up with criminal associates in north Wicklow and south Dublin and become involved in crime again. Gardaí will certainly be keeping an eye on him.”

Michael Cash has almost 100 previous convictions including nearly 30 for thefts and burglary, and served his sentence in the Midlands Prison where he was on an enhanced prisoner status.

This is despite the fact that he has been disciplined at least 10 times behind bars with the majority of these for failing to provide a sample.

Last year Cash was given a partially suspended jail term at Dublin Circuit Court for stealing a car which meant that he wouldn’t face any extra jail time.

The court heard he was due for release at the end of this year and that he was engaging in support services in prison for alcohol and substance abuse.

His younger accomplice, Jamie O’Brien (26) from Bray, was also given an eight-year jail term for the false imprisonment, assault and burglary of Ms Sutton but is not due for release until 2022.

Sentencing the pair in July 2017, Judge Michael Walsh told Wicklow Circuit Court that the attack on the widow was savagery and that it amounted to “torture”.

He described Ms Sutton as a “wonderfully independent woman” who had been in a position to look after herself and live alone in her own home.

“This was savagely and brutally interrupted on the date in question,” he said.

Cash and O’Brien broke into Ms Sutton’s home shortly before 5am and subjected her to a 90-minute ordeal during which she was tied up, beaten and told she would be killed or shot.

The pensioner pleaded for the men to stop but instead she was kicked in the chest and head, dragged by her hair from room to room and tied up with dog leads.

The elderly victim tried to call for help by pressing a panic button attached to her necklace, but her attackers ripped the alarm from her neck.

They also beat her with her own walking stick and held it across her throat.

Both thugs also falsely claimed to be members of the IRA in a further attempt to threaten and intimidate her.

The attack left Ms Sutton with broken ribs, a punctured lung, a broken nose, cuts to her face and legs and severe bruising to her body.

The two thugs did not show any mercy as they beat her, even though at one stage she told them: “I’m dying, I’m dying.”

After the sentencing Ms Sutton’s daughter, Amanda, described the impact the attack had on her mother.

“Not even an animal would do what they did. And then his defence team says that he is remorseful for what he did. The time to be remorseful was when he was being interviewed by gardaí. But he denied everything. Mam is tiny, she is only 5ft. You could lean on her and she wouldn’t be able to move. So why did they have to do what they did?”

“Mam was so outgoing, she was a little dear. She was a strong woman but the attack really got to her,” Amanda Sutton told the Irish Independent.

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