Three alleged Limerick burglars fled from a rural Clare farm house after discovering that the sole occupant was a man in his 90s asleep in the home.
That was the allegation heard at a special sitting of Ennis District Court on Saturday afternoon, where three members of the one Limerick family, along with a fourth Limerick man, appeared charged with burglary at the O’Connor residence at Ballyveskil, Tiermaclane near Ennis on Friday afternoon.
In evidence at a bail hearing for the four, Inspector Kieran Ruane said it will be the State’s case that the alleged burglary at around 3.30pm on Friday was planned.
Insp Ruane said it will be alleged that one member of the group, John Woodland lured Vincent O’Connor away from his home to a nearby field on the pretence of buying silage.
In evidence, Detective Garda Gary Stack said that John Woodland, 38, had first contacted Mr O’Connor concerning the purchase of silage at the start of December.
It will be further alleged that while John Woodland was speaking to Mr O’Connor, father and son Patrick Woodland, aged 43, and Edward Woodland, aged 18, both of Greenmount Avenue, Ballinacurra Weston, Limerick along with a third man, Paul Kiely, aged 30, of Glencairn, Dooradadoyle, Limerick, then forcibly entered the home.
However, when the three came across Mr O’Connor’s elderly father, they fled the home. Detective Garda Brendan Rouine told the court in evidence the man’s sleep was undisturbed.
Insp Ruane said the elderly man was not confronted by any of the accused.
Det Gda Stack said the three were caught by gardaí after a short foot chase in a nearby field. Gardaí also apprehended John Woodland, of Clarina Avenue, Ballinacurra Avenue, Limerick.
Det Gda Stack said that, as part of the investigation, gardaí have seized a number of mobile phones and he said they are confident that traffic on the phones will show that the operation was planned.
Detective Garda Damien O’Connor said there a Garda surveillance operation was running in the area at the time.
Gardaí opposed bail for all four men based on the strength of the evidence against them and the nature of the offence.
Insp Ruane said that, on inditement, a charge of burglary carries a sentence of 14 years in jail.
Judge Mary Larkin refused bail to brothers Patrick and John Woodland and remanded Edward Woodland and Paul Kiely — who is a qualified tradesman — in custody with consent to bail.
Det Gda Rouine said that, after he was charged at 12.20am on Saturday , Edward Woodland replied: “Nice one man.”
The three other accused made no reply when charged.
Judge Larkin remanded Patrick and John Woodland in custody to appear via video link at Ennis District Court on Wednesday.
Judge Larkin ordered that Mr Kiely and Edward Woodland requires an independent surety to be approved by the court and they were also taken into custody and will obtain bail when an independent surety is approved. Mr Kiely and Edward Woodland were also remanded to appear at Ennis District Court on Wednesday.
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