One jailed for robbery of farmer, 68, who cycled 30 miles for help

One man was jailed for five years while two men walked free yesterday after receiving suspended jail terms for the robbery of a 68-year-old, who abandoned his home in terror two years ago.

One jailed for robbery of farmer, 68, who cycled 30 miles for help

At Ennis Circuit Court, Noel Garry, aged 20, of Tullycrine, Kilrush, Co Clare, was jailed for five years by Judge Carroll Moran for robbing Michael McMahon at his remote home in west Clare.

The bachelor farmer cycled 50km through the night to check himself into a nursing home in Ennis after being terrorised for a second night by the robbers.

Mr McMahon was put in “absolute fear” over the two nights in February 2012 with the robbers making threats on the second occasion they were going to return to rob him for a third time, this time for €50,000.

Over the two nights, around €7,000 in cash was robbed from Mr McMahon.

Yesterday, Judge Moran gave suspended three-year jail terms to Joseph Lernihan, aged 21, of Finnanon Park, Mullagh, Co Clare, for robbing Mr McMahon on February 21 and 25, 2012, and to Shane Donnellan, aged 20, Clohanbeg, Cree, Kilrush, for the robbery of Mr McMahon on February 25, 2012.

Judge Moran imposed a three-year jail term on Mr Garry for the robbery of Mr McMahon on February 25 and imposed a consecutive jail term for three years for the robbery at the isolated home of an 82-year-old woman, Mary Breen, since deceased, seven months after the earlier offence while he was out on bail.

The judge said that Mr Garry was the most culpable before the courts in relation to the robbery of Mr McMahon and was the prime mover, leading two others, in the robbery of €50 in September 2012 at the Breen household.

Judge Moran said that as Mr Garry was on bail at the time of the Breen robbery, the second three year jail term must be consecutive, suspending the final year.

The judge said Mr Garry has previous convictions for burglary and robbery and his probation report found the level of victim empathy was superficial “and he has no insight into the consequences of his offending”.

The court was told that all three offenders have written letters of apology to |Mr McMahon, who remains in a nursing home in Co Clare and has vowed never to return home.

Gardaí admit the prime mover behind both McMahon robberies remains at large due to insufficient evidence against the man.

Judge Moran said Mr Lernihan has no previous convictions, was at the lowest level of involvement, and had €3,790 in court for Mr McMahon.

Judge Moran said Mr Donnellan was involved at a low level, had no previous convictions and imposed a suspended three-year jail term, ordering him to pay €1,000 Mr Donnellan had in court for Mr McMahon.

Pat Whyms, defending Mr Donnellan, said his client presented himself at the garda station days after the robbery before gardaí had any evidence against him, making full admissions.

Lorcan Connolly, defending Mr Lernihan, said his client has never been in trouble before or since and was recently out assisting neighbours in their hour of need during the floods.

“Mr Lernihan has brought shame on himself and his family. What he did was completely out of character.”

Ross O’Driscoll, defending Mr Garry, said Mr Garry is of limited intellect and education with his father leaving the family home when he was aged five.

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