At Ennis Circuit Court yesterday, Det Sgt Oliver Nevin said the plunder was sold for a paltry €1,355 to a Limerick recycling firm.
Det Nevin said the value of the items stolen was around €10,000 but that the vast amount of the €128,778 cost arose the damage caused to Tinerana House in removing fittings from ceilings, floors, and bathrooms
Gary McNamara and his wife Michelle bought the lakeside mansion for €1.46m at the end of January 2013.
Det Nevin said the home was not insured as there was nobody living in the 19th-century 16-bedroom home at the time.
He said Mr McNamara was running a farm on the lands but would not have been in the house for two to three weeks.
Stephen Coughlan, prosecuting, said Mr McNamara reported to Killaloe gardaí on September 15, 2013, that the house was “gutted” of almost all its light fittings and copper piping and cylinders.
Det Nevin handed photos into the court showing ceilings ripped down so copper piping could be taken, sinks smashed so brass fittings could be removed, and carpets taken up to access under-floor copper piping.
“The antique light fittings from every room of the house were cut down with exposed wires showing.”
Jeffrey Lee, aged 44, of Cosgrove Park, Moyross, Limerick, has pleaded guilty to entering Tinerana House as a trespasser and committing theft on dates between August 17 and September 14, 2013.
His co-accused Declan Browne, aged 29, of Lackyle, Ardnacrusha, has pleaded guilty to handling stolen property including antique bathroom fittings, antique chandeliers, candelabras and light fittings, and copper wiring on September 13, 2013, at Clear Circle Metals, Ballysimon Rd, Limerick.
Lee has 33 previous convictions and is currently serving a three-year sentence for assault causing harm imposed in February.
Browne has more than 40 previous convictions.
Judge Gerald Keys said: “From looking at the damage shown in the photos, I find it very hard to accept that there was only one person involved in the burglary at the home.”
Det Nevin said because of the easy identification of the fittings removed, the Garda investigation led toClear Circle Metals.
The firm had no knowledge of the culprits’ crime and purchased the goods for scrap value for €1,355 to be melted down.
Det Nevin said: “The vast amount of property that was stolen from Tinerana House was in that firm’s premises.”
Det Nevin said CCTV provided by the firm showed Lee and Browne bringing in the stolen items. He said none of the copper piping was recovered, while 50% of the light fittings were. Det Nevin said €5,000 worth of the goods was retrieved from the recycling firm.
Judge Keys adjourned sentencing to June 14 and further remanded Browne on bail. Lee continues to serve his sentence and will also re-appear in court on that date.