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Wednesday 15 August 2018

Alleged burglars fled rural farmhouse after discovering elderly farmer asleep

(stock photo)
(stock photo)

Gordon Deegan

Three alleged Limerick burglars fled from a rural Co Clare farm house after discovering that the sole occupant was a man in his 90s asleep in the home.

That was the allegation heard at a special sitting of Ennis District Court on Saturday afternoon where three members of the one Limerick family along with a fourth Limerick man appeared charged with burglary at the O’Connor residence at Ballyveskil, Tiermaclane near Ennis on Friday afternoon.

In evidence at a bail hearing for the four, Insp Kieran Ruane said that it will be the State case that the alleged burglary at around 3.30pm on Friday afternoon was planned.

Insp Ruane said that it will be alleged that one member of the group, John Woodland lured Vincent O’Connor away from his home to a nearby field on the pretence of buying sillage.

In evidence Det Garda Gary Stack said that John Woodland (38) - sporting a black eye in court - had first contacted Mr O’Connor concerning purchasing sillage at the start of December.

It will be further alleged that while John Woodland was speaking to Vincent O'Connor, father and son, Patrick Woodland (43) and Edward Woodland (18) both of Greenmount Avenue, Ballinacurra Weston, Limerick along with a third man, Paul Kiely (30) of Glencairn, Dooradadoyle, Limerick, then forcibly entered the home.

However, when the three came across Vincent O’Connor’s elderly father, they fled the home. Det Garda Brendan Rouine told the court in evidence that the man’s sleep was undisturbed.

Insp Ruane said that the elderly man was not confronted by any of the accused.

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Det Garda Stack said that the three were caught by Gardai after a short foot chase in a nearby field. Gardai also apprehended John Woodland of Clarina Avenue, Ballinacurra Avenue, Limerick.

Det Garda Stack said that as part of the investigation, Gardai have seized a number of mobile phones and he said that Gardai are confident that traffic on the phones will show that the operation was planned.

Det Garda Damien O’Connor said that there was a Garda surveillance operation in the area at the time.

Gardai opposed bail for all four based on the strength of the evidence against the four and the nature of the offence.

Insp Ruane said that on inditement, a charge of burglary carries a sentence of 14 years in jail.

Judge Mary Larkin refused bail to brothers, Patrick and John Woodland and remanded Edward Woodland and Paul Kiely - who is a qualified tradesman and on disability - in custody with consent to bail.

Det Garda Rouine said that after charge at 12.20am on Saturday morning, Edward Woodland replied ‘Nice one man’. The three other accused made no reply when charged.

Judge Larkin remanded brothers, Patrick and John Woodland in custody to appear via video link at Ennis District Court on next Wednesday. Judge Larkin ordered that Mr Kiely and Edward Woodland requires an independent surety to be approved by the court and they were also taken away in custody and will obtain bail when an independent surety is approved.

Mr Kiely and Edward Woodland were also remanded to appear at Ennis District Court next Wednesday.


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