Burglars who struck in Welwyn Garden City and Hatfield jailed

William O'Donoghue

William O'Donoghue - Credit: Archant

Two burglars who conned their way into the homes of elderly victims including a 94-year-old Hatfield woman have been jailed for their crimes.

Michael O'Donoghue

Michael O'Donoghue - Credit: Archant

Brothers William , 32 and Michael, 39 O’Donoghue were jailed for 12 and nine years respectively at St Albans Crown Court on Thursday.

Their accomplice Thomas Hannifin, 24, of no fixed address, was sentenced to 15 years and two months in prison months for conspiracy to burgle and robbery last February.

In the second half of 2014, the trio targeted 19 victims, mostly elderly, talking their way in by pretending to be plumbers, health officials, or water company officials.

Their victims included a 94-year-old woman and an 82-year-old man from Hatfield, a 79-year-old Welwyn Garden City woman, and a 29-year-old Welwyn Garden City man, who lost gold after three men were seen leaving his home.

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Other homes were targeted by the trio in other parts of Hertfordshire, Bedfordshire, Middlesex, Essex and Berkshire.

Although some victims lost substantial sums of money, the crooks fled empty-handed from other homes after they were challenged.

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For example, they persuaded the 82-year-old Hatfield man to let them into his flat by posing as plumbers, but left empty-handed when his carer arrived and challenged them.

The 79-year-old Welwyn Garden City woman checked with her water supplier that no staff were working in the area after a man knocked on her door pretending to be investigating a flooding risk.

While she was distracted, an accomplice tried to force open her back door, but was unsuccessful.

Michael O‘Donoghue, of no fixed address, was convicted of conspiracy to burgle at a trial, but his brother, who lives in Croxley View, Watford, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to burglary and robbery.

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