By Liam Heylin
A heartless son tied up his 68-year-old sick mother and robbed her of the €11,600 she had saved to pay for her funeral.
Jason Scannell shouted at the public gallery as he was jailed for eight years, with the last two suspended.
Cork Circuit Criminal Court heard Scannell never showed remorse for the aggravated burglary.
Scannell’s sister, Elizabeth, who has cerebral palsy, spoke of the effect of the horror crime on herself and her mother.
“My mother worked hard all her life and did her best by us all,” said Elizabeth Scannell. “She suffered a stroke and a bleed on the brain. She was just out of hospital five days when my brother Jason committed these crimes. There were two other people with him.
“He put his arm around my neck and his other hand around my mouth and dragged me up three flights of stairs.
“They tied us up very tight. I saw a hammer being pushed down my mother’s throat. Jason never said to the other two to stop. That night I thought I was dead.”
Scannell and his two accomplices fled with the bag of cash from a bedside locker.
He was later arrested in England on a European arrest warrant and charged with aggravated burglary at Hunters Green, Mahon, Cork, on July 28, 2014 and falsely imprisoning his mother and sister. His address at the the time was at an apartment at 36 Douglas West, Douglas, Cork.
Elizabeth Scannell managed to untie herself and call the gardaí.
She told the court: “My mother has always looked out for Jason, giving him money and sorting him out. I didn’t always agree with this as he kept getting into trouble. I also helped him out previously.
“He brought two other criminals into our house. He had it well planned. It was a heartless crime. We were always law-abiding people. The hurt runs very deep. We feel betrayed, embarrassed and ashamed that he could do this to us. We are still very angry. We will never forgive him or want to see him again.”
Detective Garda Hayes said the defendant’s mother had not left her home since the crime two years ago.
Judge Seán Ó Donnabháin said: “This crime would not have happened save and except for Jason Scannell’s knowledge of the set-up at home and the likelihood his unfortunate mother might have money at home. This was a thought-out crime in which Jason was the main mover.
“It was an extremely heartless crime. He knew above anyone else of the vulnerabilities within the house. There was a considerable level of violence to the people he abused.”
Judge Ó Donnabháin jailed Jason Scannell for eight years with the last two years suspended.
The judge remarked on an outburst from Scannell to the public gallery as he was being taken into custody to start serving the six years: “The Court of Criminal Appeal should be told he mouthed some abuse at people who gave evidence.”
Scannell apologised yesterday through barrister Alan O’Dwyer. It was the first time he apologised.
However, his sister did not accept the apology and said she would never forgive him and that she and her mother never wanted to see him again. She thanked her neighbours and Det Garda Hayes for all their support.
Ms Scannell also thanked the Support for Victims group for their help.