A YOUNG man who admitted possession of a pipe bomb which was thrown into a house in Ballinacurra Weston has been sentenced to two-and-a-half years in prison.
Stephen Mulqueen, 20, of Lenihan Prospect, pleaded guilty to having an explosive substance at Greenmount, Avenue in the early hours of May 14, 2011.
Limerick Circuit Court was told the device was thrown through the front widow of the house at around 12.15am .
There were five children, including two toddlers, inside the house at the time.
John O’Sullivan BL, prosecuting, said the alarm was raised when one of the occupants - a fifteen year-old girl - heard the sound of breaking glass.
The court was told that the device, which was around a foot long, contained shotgun power and was filled with shrapnel including marbles and leadshot.
Det Garda Brian Culbert said attempts were made to light the fuse by the culprits but that the device did not explode.
“It was a deliberate and planned attack,” said Det Garda Culbert who said had it gone off it would have caused significant injuries to those inside the house.
Judge Carrol Moran was told that a number of neighbouring houses were evacuated after the alarm was raised and that it was a “very distressing” experience for the family who live at the house and who were described as being of “impeccable character”.
Brian McInerney BL, said his client had co-operated with garda ifollowing his arrest and that he had made admissions.
Judge Moran was told he was the not the person who threw the pipe bomb into the house that he had no involvement in making the device.
Imposing sentence, the judge said Mulqueen’s actions were “unacceptable” and he said it was an “appalling experience” for the family who live at the house.
The judge said a mitigating factor in the case was that Mulqueen had made admissions and that “he may be the only person to face the music.
The judge imposed a five year sentence, suspending the final two-and-a-half years.
However, the sentence is to be served consecutively to a one year sentence which was imposed in relation to an assault in Shannon, Co Clare during which the victim was stabbed with a screwdriver over the eye.