‘Coward’ targeted 100yo dementia patient


A man who snuck into an aged care home and rifled through the belongings of elderly and ill residents, looking for money, has been labelled "a coward".

"Your offending here is serious. It was highly cowardly," Brisbane Magistrate Michael Quinn told Andrew James Murphy.

"You were in premises which were the homes, the sanctuary, the castles of very elderly, unwell people aged in their 80s, in their 90s and at least one in the 100s."

Mr Quinn said Murphy had violated the safety and sanctity of the elderly while he was looking for money.

Andrew James Murphy pleaded guilty to 18 offences after he searched through rooms of aged care residents looking for money.
Andrew James Murphy pleaded guilty to 18 offences after he searched through rooms of aged care residents looking for money.

Murphy, 56, pleaded guilty in Brisbane Magistrates Court to 18 counts of entering a dwelling with intent at a Salvation Army aged care home at Chapel Hill around 3pm on February 17.

Police prosecutor Sergeant Carrie Davidson said Murphy searched through drawers and cupboards in the rooms of 17 residents, aged from 74 to 104.

Sgt Davidson said while it did not appear that Murphy had taken anything, some of the elderly residents had cognitive impairments and could not tell if things were missing.

Murphy claimed he was only looking for money and had not taken any property.

The court heard Murphy had a 10-page criminal history, including many break and enter convictions, and he had previously breached probation and suspended sentences.

When he committed the offences at the aged care home he had been due to appear in a court within days, for similar offences.

"You, sir, are a thoroughly dishonest person," Magistrate Quinn told Murphy.

"You are totally self-centred and think of no one but yourself and don't care about whose lives and whose happiness you ruin."

Murphy was on a 12-months suspended sentence at the time of the offences.

"You violated the safety and sanctuary of these people,'' Mr Quinn said.

"You were seriously looking to take money from a 90-year-old person who was ill, infirm and generally suffering from dementia.''

Mr Quinn said Murphy would have upset the elderly residents' enjoyment of life, all because he wanted money.

"You are a coward, sir, as well as being a criminal. A 100-year-old dementia patient, and you think they're fair game.''

The court was told Murphy, who is hearing-impaired and was sentenced with the help of an Auslan sign language interpreter, felt remorse, embarrassment and shame.

Mr Quinn said most members of the public would find Murphy's offending to be "quite disgraceful''.

He sentenced him to 12 months' imprisonment, with immediate release on parole.









Originally published as 'Coward' targeted 100yo dementia patient