Man, 68, abandoned home at 1am to cycle to nursing home after robberies

A 68-year-old man abandoned his home and cycled 30 miles through the night to check himself into a nursing home after being terrorised twice by robbers at his remote home in west Clare.

Michael McMahon, a bachelor, set off from his home in Cree, at 1am with his life’s belongings in a few bags on his push bike and cycled for eight hours to St Joseph’s nursing home in Ennis, where he checked himself in at 9am.

Mr McMahon remains in nursing home care today after fleeing his home following two nights of being put in “absolute fear” by robbers almost two years ago with the robbers making threats on the second occasion that they were going to return to rob him for a third time — this time for €50,000.

At Ennis Circuit Court yesterday, Det Garda Donal Corkery said that on the second occasion, the robbers put the rung of a gate, pretending that it was a gun, through a broken window at Mr McMahon’s home and threatening to shoot him.

Det Corkery said that Mr McMahon was living alone in the rural, remote location, which has neither electricity nor running water.

However, Mr McMahon had cash in his home from an inheritance he received from America.

Det Corkery said over the two nights around €7,000 in cash was robbed from Mr McMahon.

On that second occasion “they demanded and got Mr McMahon’s bank books and they told Mr McMahon to go to the bank the following Monday and withdraw €50,000 and they would be back for that”.

Det Corkery said the robbers made the demand “after seeing a substantial sum of money on the bank books”.

Stephen Coughlan, prosecuting, said that the robbers “told him that if he contacted gardaí, they would come back and burn his house down”.

Det Corkery said: “Mr McMahon told the persons there that he wouldn’t be able to remain at his home because of their action and later at 1am that night, he gathered up his belongings and cycled from his address to St Joseph’s nursing home.”

At court yesterday, three Clare men pleaded guilty to robbing Mr McMahon. Joseph Lernihan, aged 21, of Finnanon Park, Mullagh, pleaded guilty to robbing Mr McMahon at Cree on Feb 21 and 25, 2012. Shane Donnellan, aged 20, Clohanbeg, Cree, Kilrush, and Noel Garry, aged 20, of Tullycrine, Kilrush, pleaded guilty to the robbery on Feb 25, 2012.

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