Armed raiders jailed after family terrorised at home

Two men involved in an armed raid on a family’s home in Co Limerick have been given jail sentences of seven and five years at Limerick Circuit Court.

Gerard Garvey, his wife Anne and their four children were subjected to a terrifying ordeal when a masked gang armed with a sawn-off shotgun, baseball bat and sledgehammer burst through patio doors of their home at Sunville House, Pallasgreen, Co Limerick on April 16, 2012.

Mr Garvey, a father of four, was handcuffed and threatened at gunpoint that his head would be blown off and his daughter killed during the robbery at his home.

The gang, who repeatedly demanded money from the 54-year-old, repeatedly shouted “We will blow your head off. We will kill your daughter. We will take your kids and you will never seen them again.”

His daughter Grace, who was 16 at the time, had her hands tied with cable ties while her brother Graham then aged 14, was punched and knocked to the ground and threatened that his skull would be cracked if he didn’t hand over the keys of the safe.

Mr Garvey’s wife Anne, who was having a bath upstairs when the raiders burst into her home, pretended to look for the key to the safe from which the men took $3,000 and €5,000 worth of sterling bills.

The couple’s other children Gordon, 16, and Gillian, 14, were also home at the time.

John Cahill, 30, of Hillview Grove, Doon, and Christopher Stokes, 42, of St Anthony’s Park, Knocknaheeny, Cork City, both pleaded guilty at Limerick Circuit court to a charge of aggravated burglary at Sunville House, Pallasgreen, Co Limerick on April 16, 2012. Stokes also admitted falsely imprisoning Mr Garvey on the same date.

Judge Carroll Moran said aggravating factors were the targeting of a family in a remote rural house and the level of planning involved where a stolen BMW with false registration plates was used by the gang.

Judge Moran jailed 42-year-old Christopher Stokes for seven years.

Cahill, who was the getaway driver, and didn’t enter the house was given a five- year sentence which Judge Moran ordered be served consecutive to a seven-year jail term imposed at Nenagh Circuit Court last month for unlawful possession of a firearm. Previously, in a victim impact statement, Gerard Garvey who works as a community development manager in St Mary’s Park in Limerick described the impact of the ordeal on his family.

“Up to that point, our home was a place of peace and tranquility where our children happily roamed the gardens with their pets and without a care in the world. As a result of this horrible event, all of us feel constantly edgy and fearful even within the confines of the house.”

He described how doors are almost always locked and none of the children will venture outside at dusk.

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