Men robbed and threatened Parkinson's sufferer in his own home
Two men have been jailed for their roles in the aggravated burglary of the family home of a 64 year old man with Parkinson’s disease.
They were among three men who barged their way into the family’s home and demanded the key to an old car in the driveway which had not been started in a number of years.
Gardai say Craig Hogan (23) hit and threatened the 64-year-old man while his wife ran to neighbours to ring gardai. Hogan’s defence counsel said he admitting being present but his account differs from that of the gardai. The couple’s son was also in the house.
Ian Doyle (24) appears to have attempted to calm the situation. He told the couple as he was being arrested “Don’t forget I am the one who saved you.”
Hogan and Doyle put a large part of the blame onto the third man who has since died and whom they both claimed to fear. They had both been drinking prior to the offence.
Garda David Connolly agreed with defence counsel that there was confusion at points about what was happening but he maintained the overall picture of the men’s roles was clear.
Hogan and Doyle, both of Rossfield Park, Tallaght, pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to the aggravated burglary of the family’s home at Firhouse on July 27, 2012.
Victim impact reports were handed into the judge but not read in court.
Hogan has no previous convictions while Doyle has 15 convictions for more minor offences.
Judge Nolan said people were entitled to feel that they would not be bothered or molested in their own homes. He said that during the incident which lasted about 15 minutes the family had been absolutely terrified.
He said it seemed Hogan had committed actual violence and he noted while Doyle had to take his fair share of the blame for being present he did attempt to calm the situation.
“They wreaked havoc upon the lives of the family in that house and they have also wreaked havoc on their own lives because this court must impose a significant custodial sentence,” he said.
Judge Nolan imposed an eight year sentence on both men. He suspended the final four years of the sentence for Doyle and the final two years for Hogan.
Damien Colgan SC, defending Doyle, said his client wished to apologise to the family in open court. He said alcohol had been a serious issue for Doyle and he could only remember bits and pieces of the night.
He submitted Doyle’s role could be distinguished from the other men and that he had remained at the scene when gardai arrived and told them he had been in the house.
Patrick McGrath SC, defending Hogan, put it to Gda Connolly that Hogan’s account was not the same as the gardai’s but that he accepted blame for being part of gang that was trying to get the keys and was aware of what was going on.
Gda Connolly said Hogan had been caught red handed with blood on his clothes and with property from the house.
Mr McGrath submitted that Hogan accepts he was there on the night and had set out his involvement in his garda interview. He said it was a horrific attack and should never have happened.
He said Hogan was truly ashamed and shocked by what had happened. His father had died three months prior to the offence and he had turned to excessive drinking.
During garda interview Hogan distanced him from the violence in the house and both men put the blame on the third man.
Garda David Connolly told Fiona Murphy BL, prosecuting, that at about 12.40am the 65-year-old woman was in her bedroom and looked out the window when she heard voices. She came downstairs and the door bell rang.
Her 64- year-old husband was in the kitchen and her son upstairs in bed.
She answered the door and saw three young males who asked her a question before two of them, one of whom had a knife, barged past her. The third, who appears to be Doyle, remained outside the house and told her he did not want to be involved.
The woman was able to run out past him to a neighbours house and alert gardai.
A second man pushed the 65-year-old man back into the kitchen. He had a blade in his hands and knocked the elderly man, who was unsteady on his feet, backwards across the kitchen.
This burglar, who gardai say was Hogan, demanded the car keys and hit him each time he tried to get on his feet.
The elderly man asked him if he was mad and told him the car was worth “about 50 cents.”
The burglar responded “who is mad” and repeatedly hit the elderly man. He told the man his wife was being killed upstairs because he would not give him the car keys.
He said at one stage the man gardai say was Hogan was rubbing the blade off his face on a menacing way. The victim was trying to persuade him there was no point getting the keys but eventually realised it was pointless.
The elderly man managed to get outside after several attempts and tried to ring gardai but the burglar took the phone from him. He was exhausted at this stage and just lay down.
The elderly man later attempted to push two of the men out the front door using a pick axe handle but it was pulled off him. He grabbed the blade held by Hogan who twisted it cutting the man’s hand.
He said Doyle came in several times and told Hogan to “calm down.” He said Doyle also assisted the main aggressor on a number of occasions including taking the axe handle from him.
Meanwhile the third man, who is now deceased, went upstairs and burst into the bedroom of the couple’s son who was getting out of bed after hearing his mother screaming. The man was armed with a knife he pointed at the son as he brought him to a room downstairs.
The son knew there was more then one man in the house and heard shouting between them as well as his father screaming in the kitchen. The third man threatened him with a knife.
He spoke to Doyle and asked him to stop the others hurting his father. He said Doyle did not seem to know what was going on. He told the men he knew where the car keys were and went to get them. He gave it to one of the men but the car would not start.
He heard a commotion in the house and saw his father being attacked by Hogan. Hogan stopped when asked by Doyle. The son managed to escape later from the garden and was helped by a neighbour.
Gardai arrived at the scene and saw Doyle and Hogan outside at the bottom of a cul de sac.
Hogan ran away but was caught by gardai. He appeared intoxicated and had a set of keys and mobile phone in his pocket identified as taken from the house.
Doyle remained at the scene. He was highly emotional and drinking from a wine bottle. The elderly man approached and identified him as one of the men.