Tuesday 21 November 2017

15 minutes of hell and two years of court hearings - but Corcorans finally get justice

Emma and Mark Corcoran: Process of trying to put their terrifying ordeal behind them will take much longer
Emma and Mark Corcoran: Process of trying to put their terrifying ordeal behind them will take much longer

Conor Kane and Denise Calnan

Shortly before the gang members were individually led out of Clonmel courthouse, handcuffed, amid a heavy garda presence, the Corcorans stood beside their solicitor, Kieran Cleary.

The couple have suffered huge physical, psychological and financial costs since the raid on their rural home.

Mr Cleary described the scenes he witnessed when he arrived to the house a few hours after the burglary as "like the Holocaust".

Mr Cleary said he will "never forget the fear in the young children's faces".

"Myself and my son, who is a solicitor, went over in the morning and it was like the Holocaust," he told RTÉ.

"I've never seen anything like it in a home - the fear on the children, they were frozen with it.

"It was frightening, they were terrified, they couldn't speak or let go of their mother. If their father went to the kitchen, they were terrified. It was horrific."

The children were aged eight, six and two at the time.

The gang of seven raiders left Dublin in a convoy of two cars on the night of November 20, 2013.

Just after 3am, Mr Corcoran was awoken by a man in a balaclava, brandishing a machete.

He was struck with the butt of a gun, causing his eye socket to fracture. He was then tied up with cable-ties, but was aware that his two eldest daughters were awake and in the hallway. By now he was "in fear of his life".

Meanwhile, his wife Emma had the presence of mind to dial 999 and place her mobile phone under her bed, allowing gardaí to hear the chaos, threats and "terrified screams" of her children.

She was dragged from the bedroom and told they would "kill your f**king kids".

The raid lasted almost 15 minutes. In the near two years since then, guilty pleas to the charge of aggravated burglary were entered.

For the Corcorans, the process of trying to put the events of November 21, 2013 out of their minds is likely to take a lot longer.

Judge Thomas Teehan summed up the crime itself, but also its effects: "When evil deeds are committed, the evil consequences reach out in multiple directions."

Irish Independent

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