The final insult: Callous thugs laugh and blow kisses as they're sentence for barbaric attack on Mark and Emma Corcoran, and their three young daughters
Sentences totalling 105 years have been handed down to a gang of seven men who carried out a terrifying raid on a young family, causing "catastrophic changes" to their lives.
Judge Thomas Teehan said the crime inflicted on Mark and Emma Corcoran and their three young daughters almost two years ago had "shocked an entire nation" and was an affront to law-abiding citizens.
The seven men, in their 20s and from north Dublin, received between five and 16 years each at Clonmel Circuit Court after pleading guilty on earlier dates to a single charge each of aggravated burglary.
The callous criminals smiled and blew kisses as they left court yesterday.
The judge said the case had multiple aggravating factors, the most significant of which was the effect it had on the Corcoran family, whose home, at Burnchurch, near Killenaule in south Tipperary, was broken into by the gang early on November 21, 2013.
The raiders were armed with a sawn-off shotgun, a handgun and a machete and all of them were wearing balaclavas.
"The five were awoken from sleep in the family home in the most violent manner by what must have seemed like an army of sinister-looking intruders," the judge said.
The court heard on Tuesday that Mark Corcoran suffered a fractured eye socket when he was struck on the face with a gun, that his wife was forcibly removed from her bedroom - the two older daughters witnessed the event from the family's hallway - and the youngest daughter, who was two at the time, was found rocking herself and her teddy in her cot.
Threats were made to the couple that the gang would kill the children and they were left in fear for their family's lives.
"No human being of any age should ever have to witness such an egregiously violent scene and most especially in their own home," the judge said.
"All three children have been emotionally scarred by this ordeal. The effects on the youngest are particularly harrowing, even though she did not witness directly - as did her sisters - the full horror of what happened to their parents."
He described the raid as "highly-planned", while the nature of the weapons involved had "sinister connotations" in such circumstances.
"The level of gratuitous violence visited on the two adults, neither of whom was in any way a physical threat to the raiders, was quite terrifying.
"In the light of this, the unfortunate occupants had every reason to take very seriously indeed the horrifying threats which were shouted."
The Corcorans had to close their successful gym-equipment business because of the incident and also suffered other major financial losses because of securing their home and through medical expenses.
"Taking all of these effects together, it is clear that the Corcoran family, and each individual member, have suffered catastrophic changes to their lives," the judge commented.
He said that other people who might be contemplating similar crimes in future should know there can be "a very heavy price to pay" for such crimes, adding: "This is a message which must go out in the clearest and most unequivocal terms."
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