By David Raleigh
Three elderly siblings were left battered and “covered in blood” after two armed and masked men burst into their isolated farmhouse and robbed them, Limerick Circuit Court heard today.
Shocking statements from the victims to gardaí were read into the record, in the trial of father and son, Patrick Roche (aged 52), and Philip Roche, (aged 24), who are accused of aggravated burglary.
The two accused, with the same address, at Kilcronan Close, Clondalkin, deny aggravated burglary at the home of William, Nora, and Christina Creed, at Ballyluddy, Pallsgreen, on May 31, 2012.
Willie Creed, (aged 79), told gardaí: “One of them rushed at me and knocked me to the ground. He was stabbing me on the head with a screwdriver. There was blood running down along my face.”
The three siblings all gave gardaí terrifying accounts of their ordeal.
It was heard the three pensioners were beaten, tied up, and threatened that their “throats would be cut” if they didn't hand over cash.
The Creeds told gardaí the raiders were armed with a butchers knife, a screwdriver, sticks, and iron bars.
“They asked for money and they said they knew we had three pensions and a lot of land,” Willie Creed told gardaí.
“They told us they would cut our throats. One of them said he'd cut off my hands,” he added.
Mr Creed said in his statement to gardaí that one of the raiders "slashed” him on the arm, and told him: “We’re high on drugs and we can get real violent.”
Chrissie Creed (aged 77) told gardaí she was “saying prayers” in her bedroom when she heard her sister Nora “screaming”.
She said when she came out of her bedroom she saw "two men standing over (Nora), and Willie had blood on his head.”
She said she tried to phone her brother Tommy for help, but one of the raiders grabbed the phone and threw it to the ground.
“He laid into me, hitting me. He threw me across the room. I thought they were going to kill us," she told gardaí.
Nora Creed (aged 72), said she opened the front door of the house and saw two men standing in front of her dressed in black.
She told gardaí she was “punched backwards” onto a nearby window.
The court heard the Creeds had saved up €5,000 in €50 bills to pay for work they planned to have carried out on the farm, but this had been stolen in the burglary.
The three siblings were tied up with cable ties, but after the gang fled, Willie Creed managed to free himself and his sisters before raising the alarm with a relative.
Tommy Creed, 74, a brother of the three victims, and living nearby, told the court he arrived at the house after the gang had fled to find a scene of “mayhem”.
He said Willie, Nora, and Chrissie were “in the kitchen covered in blood”.
“Willie was bleeding from his forehead. There was blood everywhere.”
“Chrissie was shivering and unable to talk. Her face was bruised, she had a black eye, and a bump on her forehead.”
“Nora had scratches and scrapes on her face and she was complaining about (pain) in her leg.”
Patrick and Philip Roche have also denied a charge of aggravated burglary, at Sunville House, Pallasgreen, on April 16, 2012.
During this incident Ann and Gerry Garvey, and their four children, were held at gunpoint at their home by a three-man armed and masked gang.
A third accused, Alan Freeman, 37, of Pearse Park, Tipperary Town, who is on trial for the Sunville burglary, has denied the charge.
The trial continues Thursday at Limerick Circuit Court.