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Sunday 31 August 2014

Two men sentenced to seven years for violent home invasion

Fiona Ferguson

Published 12/03/2014 | 19:12

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Two men have been given seven year sentences for their roles in a burglary during which the homeowner was repeatedly hit with a rock.

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Shane Day (25) and Liam Fox (26) forced their way into the family home in the early hours of the morning of March 1, 2013 before making off with the man's car, wallets and a €1,300 Louis Vuitton handbag.

Fox hit the man repeatedly with a rock and told him he had a gun while Day took the wallet and bag.

Dublin Circuit Criminal Court heard that in September 2012 the pair had assaulted and attempted to rob a pizza delivery man. They had been released from garda custody pending directions from the Director of Public Prosecutions but had not been charged by the time of the burglary.

Day was also sentenced for making a false report that a pipe bomb had been left at his family home in October 2012. Gardaí, Dublin Fire Brigade and the Army bomb disposal unit were mobilised and 33 homes evacuated.

Day later told gardai he had been so intoxicated he failed to recognise the device as non-viable imitation he had made himself earlier that day and sold for €200.

Fox, of Beechview Court, Stillorgan pleaded guilty to burglary at the home in Clonskeagh on March 1, 2013 and Day, of St Columbanus Place, Milltown, pleaded guilty to aggravated burglary on the same occasion

Day also pleaded guilty to knowingly making a false report at St Columbanus Place, Milltown on October 28, 2012.

Both also pleaded guilty to assault causing harm and attempted robbery of the delivery man at Bird Avenue, Clonskeagh on September 26, 2012.

Day has 107 previous convictions with 57 of them committed while on bail. Fox has 26 previous convictions.

Judge Patrick McCartan said it was a “peculiar state of affairs” that the pair had been quickly identified as “prime suspects” in the attack on the delivery man and arrested but despite making qualified admissions of involvement the pair were released without charge.

He noted it was only 13 months later that instructions came from the Director of Public Prosecutions for them to be charged but in the mean time the pair had gone on to carry out the invasion of the family home.

“For them not to have been charged given their record seems to be a significant failure of the system” said Judge McCartan. He imposed a seven year sentence on the men with the final three years suspended.

Caroline Biggs SC, defending Day, said he had been the victim of a significant assault in June 2012 in which he had almost died as a result of multiple stab wounds and his use of intoxicants was out of control afterwards. She said the perpetrator of the offence had received an eight year sentence.

She said the father of two has used his time in custody constructively, is determined not to go back to drug and alcohol misuse and would like to go into a trade on release.

She handed in a letter in which Day expresses shame and said he is disgusted with himself. She asked the court to take into account his early guilty pleas and that he has said sorry repeatedly.

Remy Farrell SC, defending Fox, said his client was drinking heavily at the time of the offences due to personal issues and had a good work history prior to going into custody.

He submitted that both offences were clearly rooted in substance abuse and Fox was not “a lost cause.”

Garda Jonathan Ryan told Roisin Lacey BL, prosecuting, that the homeowner and his wife were awoken by their doorbell being rapidly rung at 3am. The man thought it might be the neighbourhood watch but when he opened the door he saw two men.

Day forced the door open while Fox began swiping at the man’s head repeatedly with a rock. He connected with him about five or six times while forcing his way in.

The pair were shouting for his car keys and the man tried to push them back out. When they told him they would get his family the man stopped and said they could have the car keys.

He was continuously hit with the rock as the men made their way to the kitchen where he handed over the keys. Day started to go upstairs but the man’s wife shouted there were children and he came back down.

Day said he wanted money and was told to take a wallet and money from the table. He also put bottles and an ice bucket in a bag as well as a handbag from under the stairs.

Fox told the man he had a gun indicting his pocket and said that he would use it.

When leaving, the men told the homeowner not to call gardai. They came back and told the man to open the car. He asked if he could take the buggy out and the pair agreed he could.

Fox and Day needed assistance to start the car before  reversing the vehicle away at speed.

Gardai were alerted and the car was spotted one hour later at Rosemount Park. Day was the driver with Fox in the front passenger seat and a third party in the rear. The car drove at speed towards gardai forcing them to take evasive action.

Gardai pursued the car until it took a roundabout in the wrong direction and lost control at Whitethorn Road.

The pair were arrested and interviewed. Both said they had been drinking prior to the offence. The stolen items were later recovered.

Day denied hitting the injured party but accepted responsibility for taking the car. Fox said he had not wanted to hurt the man and hit him “gently” with the rock.

Detective Garda Darren Kearns told Ms Lacey that he responded to a 999 call from Day about a pipe bomb on a doorstep. He was met by Day and shown the item from a distance. It was a cylindrical object with wires coming out of it and what appeared to be a white fuse.

Day, who was agitated and smelt of alcohol, told gardai that four members of his family were inside the house.

Gardai and the Dublin Fire Brigade evacuated 33 homes for about five hours and the Army Explosive Device Team attended to remove the item. Access had to be gained forcibly to the home of an elderly woman’s home who was deaf and speech impaired.

It was examined at the Ballistics Section at Garda HQ and found not to be an explosive device. It was cardboard cylinder filled with batteries and coins and covered in tin foil and Sellotape.

Day was arrested and interviewed. He told gardai when shown the device that it was one he had made himself.

He told gardai he had sold the device to another person for €200 before the 999 call was made. He said he had needed money to leave the country. Day said he had been drinking and taking tablets and when he saw it on his doorstep he did not recognise it as the same one he had made earlier.

Det Gda Kearns agreed with Caroline Biggs SC, defending Day, that he had accepted blame and apologised to gardai and his neighbours.

He told Judge McCartan that he did not accept Day’s explanation.

Irish Independent

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