David Casey, aged 21, from Coolock, Dublin, and Michael Casey, aged 33, of Clonlong Halting Site, Limerick, had pleaded guilty at the same court last September to carrying out the burglary at the home of John O’Donoghue, aged 62, at Toomaline, Doon, Co Limerick on the afternoon of August 27, 2015.
Judge Tom O’Donnell sentenced the Caseys to three and a half years, backdated to the date of the crime since when they have been in custody. Another two-year sentence for another attempted burglary is to run current with the three-and-a-half year tariff.
With remission, they will be due out within 16 months.
After the sentencing hearing in December a spokesperson from the O’Donoghue family said: “We feel the sentence is lenient given the circumstances and we are disappointed the two-year sentences were not made consecutive rather than concurrent, given the premeditated nature of the crime.
“Appealing the sentence is a matter for the DPP and we would hope she would consider and appeal the sentence, due to its leniency.”
The court heard the two criminals ignored pleas by Mr O’Donoghue’s sister to help her brother after he collapsed, but ran off.
Pathologist Marie Cassidy told the court that while Mr O’Donoghue had a significant level of heart disease, there was a close association between his fatal collapse and the incident. Prior to breaking into Mr O’Donoghue’s home, the Caseys and an unnamed third man who drove them carried out break-ins at homes in the nearby Cappamore area.
Sgt Michael Reidy, who led the investigation, said that on the day of the crime, Mr O’Donoghue and his sister Christina left their home to travel to Tipperary town to do some shopping.
They arrived home at around 2pm and saw another car, a black Renault Laguna, on the other side of the road with a man in it.
They noticed the front gate was open, although they closed it when they left. They became suspicious somebody could be in the house.
Mr O’Donoghue approached a side door and noticed part of it had been broken.
The driver of the black car then started honking the horn to alert his two accomplices inside.
Mr O’Donoghue picked up a shovel from a shed as he was concerned. As he stood near the door, Christina saw he was becoming unwell and he collapsed in the yard.
Christina did everything to assist him and called on the two intruders inside the house to come out and help.
“I don’t care. I just want somebody to come and help my brother,” she cried out.
But nobody came and the two Caseys ran from the house and took off through fields before being captured.
Passing sentence, Judge O’Donnell said both men had shown remorse and had written to the O’Donoghue family expressing their regret at what occurred.