Emergency services taped raid on family's home, court hears
Seven men charged with aggravated burglary at couple's rural house
A RECORDING of an armed gang breaking into a home and "terrorising" its occupants was made when the young family managed to call the emergency services.
Businesswoman Emma Corcoran managed to ring 999 when raiders burst into the bungalow she shares with her husband Mark and three children, a court was told.
"It's alleged that this recording clearly outlined the threats that were made in relation to what was demanded and also the distress of the children can be heard in the background," said Detective Sergeant James White.
Seven men with addresses in north Dublin were charged in connection with the aggravated burglary in south Tipperary last Thursday. The seven were all arrested in the hours following the incident that took place at a rural house owned by the business couple near Killenaule.
They were held for questioning at a number of garda stations since Thursday, and charged late on Saturday night and yesterday morning.
Each has been charged with one count of aggravated burglary at a house at Burnchurch, Killenaule, Co Tipperary, on November 24 last. The maximum sentence if convicted is life imprisonment.
Judge Terence Finn remanded all seven in custody to appear at Cashel district court again on Thursday.
The men arrived at Cashel courthouse at 10.48am yesterday in a number of marked and unmarked garda cars, with armed regional support teams accompanying the convoy.
A number of family members of the men gathered outside the courthouse as the suspects were brought inside, and then sat in the body of the court while waiting for the remand hearing to begin.
The only accused to apply for bail was Donal O'Hara (21) from Coolock, but this was opposed by the State.
In the witness box to oppose bail, Det Sgt White said Mr O'Hara was one of a group who left Dublin last week and carried out an aggravated burglary in a remote, rural location outside Killenaule.
He said their vehicle broke down on the way down, near the toll plaza in Co Laois, but they stole another in Co Kilkenny and made their way to Burnchurch, outside Killenaule, arriving at 3.15am.
The court heard that the men failed to kick in the front door of the house occupied by the couple and their three daughters aged eight, six and three, and instead smashed open the sitting-room window.
"It will be alleged that those involved entered the property and terrorised the family in the household," the sergeant said.
They were armed with firearms and a machete, he said, and Mr Corcoran was assaulted during the incident and suffered blood loss.
Threats were made to the family, including to the children, who were woken by the sound of the attack on their home, the witness said.
Mrs Corcoran was woken by the sound and this is when she managed to call 999 and a recording of the emergency call was made, he added.
Having taken a sum of money, the gang fled the scene, in two vehicles, including the family's own car, but were later arrested in Laois and Kildare.
Blood staining found by the gardai matched the blood of Mr Corcoran, Sergeant White said, while there was mobile phone tracking of calls between the vehicles prior to the arrests.
Chinese currency was taken from the Corcorans' home and some Chinese currency was found in the rear of the vehicle in which Mr O'Hara was travelling. The sergeant told the court that a "substantial quantity of jewellery" and two firearms used in the incident still haven't been recovered.
It was his belief that, if granted bail, Mr O'Hara would attempt to dispose of these items. Judge Finn refused the bail application.
Those charged are John Joyce (19), of Lentisk Lawn, The Donaghies, Donaghmede, Dublin; Patrick Joyce (21), of Beaumont Hall, Beaumont Woods, Dublin 9; Michael McDonagh (22), of Tara Lawns, Belcamp Lane, Coolock, Dublin 17; Thomas Flynn (19), of Moatview Avenue, Coolock, Dublin 17; Donal O'Hara (21), of Glin Park, Coolock, Dublin 17; Dean Byrne (21), of Cabra Park, Dublin 7; and Patrick Gately (26), of Primrose Grove, Darndale, Dublin 17.
The court heard that Mr Gately said "no comment" when charged by gardai; Mr Byrne said "I'll say it in court" when charged in a garda station; and Mr O'Hara said "I wasn't in that f**king house" when charged. The others made no reply.
All seven are unemployed, and free legal aid was granted by Judge Finn in all cases.
The court heard that Mr Gately is supporting his girlfriend and a three-year-old child. Mr Byrne is living with his father.
An application was made on Mr McDonagh's behalf to have him remanded to Cloverhill Prison rather than Limerick Prison. Judge Finn said he would not be making such a recommendation but it was open to Mr McDonagh to apply to the prison services for such a transfer.
Applications were also made on behalf of Mr Flynn and Patrick Joyce but turned down. The court heard Patrick Joyce's wife is expecting their first child and is five months pregnant.
by Conor Kane