Monday 19 February 2018

Justice is done six years after vicious robbery

Ann Healy

An 81-year-old widower spends hours every day at his local garda station for company and sleeps under his bed in terror six years after he was was tied up, beaten and robbed by a gang at his isolated farmhouse.

Yesterday, justice finally caught up with Darren Finnerty (32), of Cummer, Tuam, Co Galway, who was jailed for six years for his part in the robbery of the then 75-year-old at his home near Ballygar on September 18, 2006.

Det Sgt John Considine told Galway Circuit Criminal Court that Finnerty broke in to the isolated farmhouse at 9.30pm with another man and a woman.

They kicked and beat the victim before tying him up.

The victim's cousin, who is since deceased, had informed the gang the elderly man had a lot of money in the house and they found €9,000 in a biscuit tin upstairs. They took his car keys and escaped back to Galway with the money, which was never recovered.

Sgt Considine said co-accused Christopher 'Gick' McDonagh, from Athlone, had been sentenced to eight years in prison with the last two suspended for the robbery and false imprisonment of the man when he was brought before the court in 2009. The woman, he said, had absconded to England.

Finnerty, he said, had been charged in April 2008 but he absconded to England also before his trial in July, 2008. A warrant for his arrest was executed in England last November when he was taken into custody there for another offence. He was brought back to Ireland and had been in custody since then.

Sgt Considine said the victim goes into Ballygar garda station every day and sits there for hours talking to people.

"He finds it very difficult to be on his own," the sergeant said.

In an impact statement read at McDonagh's sentencing hearing in 2009, the victim had said: "Sometimes I sleep under my bed for fear it will happen again. I'm always afraid of someone coming into my house and I wake up in a ball of sweat thinking someone is running up the stairs to attack me again."

Judge Raymond Groarke said the victim was a vulnerable man at the time he was robbed and to add insult to injury he had been 'shopped' to known criminals by his own cousin.

Irish Independent

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