independent

Monday 21 April 2014

Leading garda and daughter hurt tackling home raid gang

Det Supt Jim Browne

ONE of the country's top garda officers and his daughter received several injuries when they pursued and attempted to arrest a gang who tried to break into their home.

Two young men, a woman and a teenage girl got more than they bargained for when they went to Det Supt Jim Browne's home in Limerick in February.

Limerick Circuit Criminal court was silenced last night as the litany of crimes committed by Owen Bailey (19), Jason Curtin (20), Lisa O'Callaghan (21) and the teenage girl were heard.

On February 4, O'Callaghan left her home in Keane Street, Limerick, at 12.55am and along with Bailey and Curtin stole her father's car.

Bailey, who had 54 previous convictions, had appeared in court hours earlier and was granted bail for burglary. Curtin, who recorded 85 previous convictions, was also out on bail.

Along with the teenage girl, they drove to south Limerick where they stole a box of wine from another house. They then continued to the home of Det Supt Jim Browne.

His daughter, Niamh – also a garda officer – was inside watching TV and saw a sensor light come on at 4.30am. She saw a man trying to open a door and called her father but the gang sped off with the two officers in pursuit in another car.

At a rural location, the stolen Seat Cordoba stopped and driver Bailey ran off through fields.

Curtin shouted abuse at Niamh Browne and managed to kick open a door while the 16-year-old girl tried to strike her with a bottle of wine.

Violent

A violent struggle ensued as Jim Browne suffered punches to his head, face and upper body.

The gang escaped and Jim Browne suffered two broken fingers, a chipped bone, bruising and abrasions. His daughter suffered injuries to her face, neck and shoulder.

The gang later entered an engineering business and the alarm was activated.

Responding gardai pursued them along railway lines and another violent struggle began.

One officer was injured and his colleagues used pepper spray to arrest the two men.

Owen Bailey, of Rossa Avenue, Mulgrave Street, Limerick, pleaded guilty to eight offences including: motoring offences, burglary, violent disorder, resisting a garda officer and trespassing.

Jason Curtin, from Spitland, Old Cork Road, Limerick, pleaded guilty to seven offences including: burglary, trespassing, assaulting a garda officer, resisting arrest and motoring offences.

O'Callaghan admitted four crimes including: motoring offences, violent disorder and burglary.

The 16-year-old girl pleaded guilty to seven offences including: assaulting Jim Browne, motoring offences, burglary and violent disorder.

Judge Moran jailed Curtin and Bailey for four years with the final year suspended.

O'Callaghan – who has no previous convictions – had her case adjourned for a year and was warned to stay out of trouble. The judge adjourned sentencing of the 16-year-old girl until February.

Irish Independent

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