TWO County Limerick men who forced their way into an apartment in Newcastle West and attacked one of the occupants were this week each sentenced to four years’ imprisonment.
Earlier this year, James Wall, aged 21, of Cluain Arra, Newcastle West and Eddie Ryan, aged 21, of Church Street, Rathkeale pleaded guilty to a charge of aggravated burglary, relating to the incident which happened in the early hours of June 17, 2014.
During a sentencing hearing in June Detective Garda Pat Lee told Limerick Circuit Court the occupants of the property – a couple in their early 20s – were alerted at around 2.30am when they heard voices at the rear of the ground-floor apartment.
After the culprits broke in by smashing a glass panel in the rear patio door, the woman escaped out a bedroom window and raised the alarm
The defendants, who both have a large number of previous convictions, set upon the man, violently attacking him before fleeing and making their escape along an old railway track to the rear of the Templegreen estate.
The court heard that while the victim, who suffered several defensive wounds, did not cooperate with gardai on the night but made a statement the following day in which he identified his attackers – telling gardai he knew them.
Around €3,000 worth of damage was caused in the apartment during the incident, which lasted for several minutes.
Imposing sentence this Tuesday, Judge Tom O’Donnell noted the positive contents of reports prepared by the Probation Service. He said a mitigating factor was that both men had cooperated with gardai and had pleaded guilty at an early stage.
However he said a “very serious aggravating factor” was that the offence was premeditated.
“Weapons were used, injuries were caused,” he said adding that the defendant’s criminal convictions were “not helpful” to their cause.
In the circumstances, the judge said he had to imposed a custodial sentence on each of the accused men. In each case, he imposed a five year prison sentence – suspending the final 12 months for five years.
Both men are to remain under the supervision of the Probation Service following their release.