Former associates will link three men, two from Dublin, to aggravated burglaries in Co Limerick during which neighbouring families were allegedly overpowered by an armed gang, a jury heard yesterday.
In one incident, three siblings in their 70s were falsely imprisoned and robbed.
Patrick Roche, aged 52, of Kilcronan Close, Clondalkin, and Philip Roche, aged 24, of the same address, have pleaded not guilty at Limerick Circuit Court to charges of aggravated burglaries at the Garvey family home, Sunville House, Pallasgreen, on April 16, 2012, when a gang armed with a sawn-off shotgun, a baseball bat, and a sledge hammer smashed their way in. They also deny a charge of aggravated burglary at the home of William, Nora, and Christina Creed, at Ballyluddy, Pallsgreen, on May 31, 2012.
A third accused, Alan Freeman, aged 37, of Pearse Park, Tipperary Town, has pleaded not guilty to aggravated burglary at Sunville House on April 16, 2012, during which members of the Garvey family were falsely imprisoned.
Opening the case, Shane Costelloe, prosecuting, said it is alleged that all three were involved in the burglary at the home of Gerard Garvey and that the Roches were involved in the aggravated burglary at the home of the Creed family, when William, Nora, and Christina Creed, aged 74, 71, and 68, at the time, were falsely imprisoned.
Mr Costelloe said it is alleged that, at around 10pm on April 16, 2012, Gerard Garvey and his family were at home when they heard a loud bang as the patio door was smashed in. Three men rushed the family. The jury will hear how Gerard Garvey was restrained with handcuffs. The gang left with $3,000 and £5,000.
Mr Costelloe said that, later, a Garda patrol car from Buttevant became suspicious of two cars which seemed to be travelling in convoy. Patrick Roche was one of two men found in one of the cars. Mr Costelloe said gardaí found dollars in the car, a balaclava-like mask and keys capable of opening the handcuffs placed on Mr Garvey. Patrick Roche was brought to Mallow Garda Station and the jury, he said, will hear forensic evidence of shards of glass found on his clothes.
In relation to the burglary at the Creed home, Mr Costelloe said it is alleged two men broke into the house and threatened violence before making off with €5,000.
Mr Costelloe told the jury they would hear from erstwhile associates of the three accused men, William Gammell and John Cahill.
Gammell, he said, got a suspended jail sentence on pleading guilty to his role in the aggravated burglary at the Creed home in which he was the getaway driver.
Gammell will give evidence, he said, of who else was involved, specifically, Patrick and Philip Roche.
Mr Costelloe said Cahill is serving five years for his role in the aggravated burglary at the home of the Garvey family and he will say all three accused men were involved and will also give evidence of how stolen items were disposed of.
The trial before Judge John Hannan and a jury is expected to last up to six weeks.
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