Limerick businessman recalls ‘terrifying’ home invasion

David Hurley


David Hurley

Gerry Garvey said his family are still "edgy and fearful" as a result of the home invasion [Picture: Press 22]
A COUNTY Limerick businessman who was handcuffed and threatened at gunpoint by a gang of masked men who broke into his home says he hopes no other family has to experience the same ordeal as he did.

A COUNTY Limerick businessman who was handcuffed and threatened at gunpoint by a gang of masked men who broke into his home says he hopes no other family has to experience the same ordeal as he did.

Gerry Garvey, who lives at Sunville House, Pallasgreen made his comments during the sentencing hearing of two men who pleaded guilty to charges relating to the incident on April 16, 2012.

John Cahill, aged 30, of Hillview Grove, Doon and Christopher Stokes, aged 42, of St Anthony’s Park, Knocknaheeny, Cork City each pleaded guilty to a charge of aggravated burglary while Mr Stokes also admitted falsely imprisoning Mr Garvey on the same date.

During the hearing, Detective Garda Mike Reidy said Gerry Garvey, his wife Anne and their four children were subjected to a terrifying experience when a masked gang armed with a sawn off shotgun, a baseball bat and sledge hammer burst through the patio doors of their home at around 9.40pm.

Mr Garvey, 54, was handcuffed and restrained face down on the kitchen floor while members of the gang demanded to know where the safe and cash were.

Det Garda Reidy said the men repeatedly threatened to “blow off” Mr garvey’s head and told him they would kill his children if he did not cooperate.

One his daughters Grace, 16, had her hands tied with cable ties while her brother Graham, then aged 14, was punched and knocked to the ground.

The court heard that Anne Garvey, 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 around $3,000 and €5,000 worth of sterling notes.

The couple’s other children Gordon, 16, and Gillian, 14, were also in the house at the time but were not injured

Det Garda Reidy said Stokes was one of the three men who entered the house and that Cahill acted as the getaway driver.

The court was told the culprits used a high-powered BMW, which has been stolen in the Cappamore area three weeks earlier.

Cahill also admitted setting the car, which was fitted with false registration plates, on fire in a wooded area near Rearcross two days after the incident.

Judge Carroll Moran was told he made admissions following his arrest and helped gardai locate the shotgun and other items which was used during the burglary.

However, he said, Stokes made no comment during 32 separate interviews with gardai, which took place over several days.

Det Garda Reidy said Stokes was arrested in Buttevant, North Cork less than a hour after the 
aggravated burglary by members of the local traffic corps who became concerned about the car he was travelling in.

At the time, he said, they were not aware of what had happened in Pallasgreen.

A balaclava and handcuffs were found in the car and shards of glass found in Stoke’s clothing were a match to the smashed glass at Sunville House.

In his victim impact statement Gerry Garvey said prior to the incident his home “was a place of peace and tranquility” but that as a result of what happened he and members of his family are “constantly edgy and fearful even within the confines of the house.”

He described how doors are almost always locked and none of his children will go outside after it gets dark. “Any loud noise, whether a loud knock at the door or a cup or glass smashing on the floor sends shivers down our spines in a way that never previously existed,” he said.

Mr Garvey said the passage of time “has helped a little” and the fact that some of those responsible have been brought to justice has provided some solace to him and his family.

However, he said the lack of an apology from any of those involved was “very disappointing”

Judge Carroll Moran adjourned sentencing until June 16, next.