A gangster whose meticulously-planned raid on a safe in a businessman’s home was thwarted by armed gardaí with grenades and helicopter support has been jailed for 12 years.
His accomplice got seven years for his part in the crime yesterday.
Detective Inspector Brian Goulding said gardaí had confidential information in advance of the planned crime so, instead of the family being held at gunpoint by the gang, gardaí, including armed members of the Regional Support Unit lay in wait for the gang.
As members of the gang were about to enter the house a stun grenade was thrown at their feet with the objective of disorientating them with a dazzling light and a series of loud bangs.
The planner of the crime, Trevor O’Sullivan, 38, fell as he tried to run away and he was arrested. His accomplice, Vincent Murray, 38, climbed over a gate into a field. With the support of light from a garda helicopter, Murray was found hiding in a ditch.
Both men effectively said “no comment” throughout hours of questioning. They pleaded guilty to attempted aggravated burglary at the home of Pat Glavin, at Rougrane, Glanmire, Co Cork, on Aug 11, 2013, at Cork Circuit Criminal Court, where prosecution senior counsel, Tom Creed, said the maximum sentence was life imprisonment.
Judge Seán Ó Donnabháin imposed a 15-year sentence on O’Sullivan of Curraheen Drive in Bishopstown, Cork, with the last three years suspended. He imposed 10 years on Murray, of Glandore Park, Knocknaheeny, Cork, with the last three years suspended. He differentiated between them on the basis of the high degree of planning which O’Sullivan put into the crime.
Judge Ó Donnabháin said this crime carried out with dedication had been in preparation for a long period as they assembled clean phones, cars with which the gang members were not linked, and a loaded gun.
“It is not hard to imagine the terror and upset the Glavin family had that this was in the offing. They had to live with the constant terror that they were under this threat, that this could happen on any occasion.
“To expose citizens to this sort of risk from gangsters should not be tolerated in this city. There has to be a deterrent,” the judge said.
Det Insp Goulding said gardaí became aware that there was a plan to rob Pat Glavin at his home, where criminals believed he had a significant amount of cash from his mobile, fast-food business. Gardaí understood that the plan involved carrying out the crime when the Glavin family was at home.
They hid in areas surrounding the property and monitored surveillance activity being carried out by Trevor O’Sullivan.
“Gardaí called to the home of Pat Glavin and briefed them that they were about to be victims of an aggravated burglary,” Det Insp Goulding said. The family were moved out over the weekend the crime was committed.
Judge Ó Donnabháin referred to the defendants’ apologies as watery and commented on the professionalism of the gardaí.
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