The Court of Appeal has increased prison sentences handed down to two men jailed for a "fatal burglary" after finding their original three-and-a-half-year terms were too lenient.
Cowardly cousins Michael Casey (34), of Clonlong Halting Site, Southill, Limerick, and David Casey (23), of Carragh Park, Belcamp, Dublin 17, had pleaded guilty to a series of burglaries, including one at the home of John O'Donoghue at Toomaline, Doon, on August 27, 2015.
Mr O'Donoghue (62) collapsed and died as he was about to confront the intruders, who ran off without offering help.
Judge Tom O'Donnell sentenced both men to four-and-a-half years in prison with the final year suspended at Limerick Circuit Criminal Court on December 15, 2016.
The Court of Appeal found the sentences to be "unduly lenient" following a review brought by the DPP, and both men were both resentenced yesterday to seven years with the final eight months suspended.
In seeking a review of the Caseys' sentences last December, counsel for the DPP, Thomas O'Malley, said the cousins had targeted four residential properties and entered three.
He said they had embarked on a burglary spree which was premeditated.
There was no suggestion that the Caseys intended to kill or cause serious injury to Mr O'Donoghue, and it was accepted that they were genuinely remorseful.
Mr Justice George Birmingham said Mr O'Donoghue and his sister had gone to Tipperary town to do some shopping.
When they returned home, Ms O'Donoghue noticed a black car across the road and that the gate to their property was ajar.
They became suspicious that somebody was inside the house and it became evident the front door had been broken.
The driver of the car began beeping his horn. Mr O'Donoghue got a shovel from a shed and took up a position near the door of the house. His sister noticed he did not look well.
"Ms O'Donoghue actually called on the intruders for assistance, but none was forthcoming," the judge said.
Gardai and an ambulance were called. Despite efforts to revive Mr O'Donoghue, he was pronounced dead at the scene.
A post-mortem examination indicated he had an enlarged heart and there was significant coronary artery disease and scarring of the heart muscle which meant he was at an increased risk of sudden collapse and death.
State Pathologist Dr Marie Cassidy said the stress of the situation would have caused an increase in his heart rate and blood pressure.
Mr Justice Birmingham said a number of items were stolen from Mr O'Donoghue's home as well as a small amount of cash.
Father-of two Michael Casey had 44 previous convictions, including one for robbery.
David Casey had 14 previous convictions. He was on bail at the time of the spree over another burglary he had committed.
The Caseys showed no reaction when the judgment was delivered.