Would-be raiders were dazed by grenade

Acting on a tip-off that a robbery was planned at the home of a businessman who sometimes kept money in his safe, gardaí who were lying in wait detonated a stun grenade to disorientate three men creeping around the house, it was claimed yesterday.

Tom Creed, prosecuting, outlined the evidence he anticipated would be given at Cork Circuit Criminal Court in the trial of Niall Fitzpatrick, aged 46, of Corrin Close, the Glen, Co Cork, who denies charges of possession of a 12-gauge pump-action shotgun and ammunition, and attempted aggravated burglary at the home of Pat Glavin at Rougrane, Glanmire, on August 11, 2013.

Mr Creed said Mr Glavin ran a fast-food business for 30 years, with 12 chip vans serving at various events, and occasionally kept cash in his home safe over bank holiday weekends.

In written evidence presented to the jury, Mr Glavin said: “From time to time, I would have a nice bit of cash in the safe in the house.”

Gardaí notified the Glavin family of information related to a planned robbery at their home on the weekend in question. The Glavins left their home, and gardaí went into concealed positions around the property. They spotted three men crouching and moving outside the house close to the window of Mr Glavin’s office at 10.30pm.

“The gardaí were at the entrance to a shed 10m away from where these individuals were,” said Mr Creed.

“On a pre-arranged signal, one of them threw a stun grenade which gave two very loud bangs and intense flashes of light to daze and disorientate.”

In evidence, Det Sgt Daniel Coughlan said he identified Mr Fitzpatrick and shouted at him to drop his weapon. He said that the accused and the other two men suddenly bolted and jumped over a wall.

Mr Creed said: “They all ran to the side gate and jumped over the wall and attempted to make their escape. One individual had fallen and was Tasered. The other two took off through the fields. One was caught subsequently hiding in a field.

“The third man — the one gardaí say is Mr Fitzpatrick — got away. They called to his house at 12.40. He was not there, he was out. He has served alibi notice to say he was somewhere else when these events occurred.”

In cross-examination of the detective, Brendan Nix, defending, said: “You did not see Niall Fitzpatrick and he was nowhere near this premises.”

Det Sgt Coughlan replied that he did see him there.

The trial continues.

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