Courts

Thursday 21 August 2014

Trio jailed for attacks on home and office of auctioneer

Brian McDonald

Published 29/10/2010 | 05:00

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THREE men were behind bars last night after taking part in attacks on an auctioneer's office and his family home.

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The men, all from Co Kildare, travelled to Roscommon town on the night of October 18 last year and initially pulled out of bombing the office of John Earley Auctioneers in the town centre because there were too many people about.

Later that night, they travelled to Mr Earley's home and, while the auctioneer and his family slept, his driveway was set alight. It was not until the following day that Mr Earley discovered there had been a fire outside his house.

The gang left Roscommon and travelled back east after 4am but returned within an hour and stopped outside Mr Earley's business premises before bombing it.

Christopher Sheehan (21) broke the window of the auctioneer's office with a wheel brace, before Trevor Owen (32) lit the fuse of a pipe bomb and threw it inside.

Significant damage was caused to the office and the Army Explosive Ordnance Disposal team had to be called in to carry out a detailed examination of the scene.

Damage

At Roscommon Circuit Court yesterday, Owen, of Fenview Hts, Milltown, Newbridge; and Sheehan, of Castle Village Ave, Celbridge, admitted having possession of the pipe bomb and a petrol can with intent to damage property and also causing criminal damage.

Co-accused, Jonathan McDonagh (27), of Willow Brook Grove, Celbridge, pleaded guilty to having possession of a petrol can with intent to damage property on the same occasion.

The court heard that all three men were fully aware that they were travelling to Roscommon to cause "serious damage" to Mr Earley's premises, but were answerable to another party.

Sergeant John Costello said he had no doubt that the motivation was monetary gain. When questioned, Owen had told gardai: "I knew it was a bomb, but I had no choice in the matter."

Sheehan had also admitted his involvement but was "afraid to pull out".

McDonagh offered his apologies to Mr Earley and his family and said he had a young family himself and would not want anything like that to happen to them. There was no detailed explanation given in court for the men's actions.

Owen and Sheehan were each jailed for three years while McDonagh was given a two-year sentence.

Irish Independent

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