Victims 'sleep with hurleys' after savage attack by pair of burglars
Two young men were jailed for a total of five years after a brutal aggravated burglary which left a family so terrified they now sleep with hurleys in their beds.
Bungling burglars Stephen Murphy (28) and Craig Piggott (25) were caught by gardaí after they crashed their van just 4km from the house they had just broken into.
Judge Sean O Donnabhain jailed both at Cork Circuit Criminal Court yesterday after warning that, despite the men apologising and offering €5,500 in compensation to the terrified family, the aggravated burglary was very serious and required a custodial sentence.
He jailed Piggott, who had used a plumber's wrench to assault one of the house occupants, for three years.
Murphy, who was not armed but who had entered the house on two different occasions that night, was jailed for two years.
The court heard that Murphy has alcohol and mental health issues, having been involved in a fatal tractor accident in 2013.
Murphy was driving the tractor when a door opened due to a faulty lock and a 15-year-old boy travelling in the cab fell out and suffered fatal injuries.
Judge O Donnabhain was told the incident had a traumatic impact on Murphy, who was a friend of the youth, and he began drinking heavily afterwards.
Piggott has 27 previous convictions while Murphy has 24.
Det Sgt Tom Ryan told the court the two men broke into the Duggan family home outside Ballyhooly in north Cork around 11pm on November 28, 2013.
Two brothers, Paul and Michael Duggan, were asleep in their rooms. Michael Duggan said he heard noises coming from downstairs and suddenly the sound of someone going into his brother's room.
When he heard his brother calling for help he ran to his room.
Michael Duggan was punched repeatedly but managed to get the intruder, who he recognised as Stephen Murphy, out of the house.
However, a short time later the brothers were confronted by Murphy and another man, now known to be Craig Piggott.
Piggott was armed with a wrench and he struck Michael Duggan repeatedly over the head with it, stunning him.
Mr Duggan subsequently required 11 staples to a head wound. The intruders fled the scene but were arrested by gardaí when they crashed their van just 4km away.
Both made immediate admissions to gardaí with Piggott even acknowledging the weapon used was his "favourite wrench".
Judge O Donnabhain was told that Murphy, of Ard na Bothar, Glanworth, Co Cork, and Piggott of Derrynahoul, Mitchelstown, Co Cork, were deeply remorseful for their actions and were both seeking help for alcohol and drug problems. "Considerable violence was used in this incident, the home of these people was invaded and the comfort of their living was seriously disrupted," the judge said.