A man who was part of a gang of ‘depraved barbarians’ that pushed their way into the home of a couple and demanded money amid threats and violence has been given an 18-year prison sentence.
Michael Delaney, 36, of Tyrconnell Road, Inchicore, Dublin 8, pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to aggravated burglary with a hammer and the false imprisonment of James and Sally Mountaine at their Templeogue home on 3 February 2010.
Delaney has 14 previous convictions.
Judge Tony Hunt noted parts of the victim impact reports of the couple which he said showed the impact of the crimes on the victims.
He said the couple had suffered a terrifying experience ‘meted out by an organised group of depraved barbarians.’
Mr Mountaine outlined in his victim impact report that he would ‘never forget the horror of that morning.’ He said he was attacked, thrown to the floor and threatened with being in a wheelchair.
‘I thought we would never get out of it alive,’ he said.
Mrs Mountaine said in her impact statement that her family home had been violated. She said she had been bound, threatened with being set on fire and had hair pulled out. She said she felt lucky to be alive.
The incident came to an end when the house doorbell rang and the men fled. Gardaí who had been alerted by a concerned friend of the couple arrived and Delaney was arrested nearby by Garda Emma Jane Redmond.
Garda Redmond told Mr Michael Bowman BL, prosecuting, she was on patrol when gardaí received a report about suspicious activity at the couple's home.
Mrs Mountaine said she had been about to go out the door when it was pushed in and four men wearing balaclavas came in and one of them told her ‘you are going nowhere.’ She was pushed to the ground and kicked several times.
Her husband was in the hallway and was tied and bound by the men and his wife was bound as well.
The men demanded money. One of them had a hammer and one had a hatchet.
During the incident, the men threatened the couple that they were going to kill them and burn Mrs Mountaine's hair. The men said they knew Mr Mountaine worked at a golf club, kept hitting him and seemed to believe he had brought money home.
Mrs Mountaine was hit by a man and they kept asking her husband for money. He told them there was no money and she was tied around the ankles with cable ties. The men told her they would strangle her and put a rope around her mouth. She was threatened that her hair would be set on fire.
The threats continued and Mrs Mountaine observed what she thought was a gun.
A small sum of money was retrieved at one stage but the gang believed there was more. The incident lasted about ten or 15 minutes.
The burglary came to an end when the doorbell of the house rang and the four men fled. The gardaí who had been alerted earlier arrived at this point and Garda Redmond pursued and arrested Delaney nearby. He told gardaí he was sorry and that he had searched the couple's home while he was there.
Two chains valued at €900 and €2,000 had been taken from Mrs Mountaine. The two victims were treated for their injuries at their home.
Judge Hunt noted that if it were not for the horror of this offence, it would be easy to have sympathy for the medical and personal circumstances of Delaney. However the judge added that these were drowned out by the nature of Delaney’s activity.
Judge Hunt imposed an 18-year sentence and suspended the final six years of the sentence on strict conditions.
Mr Remy Farrell BL, defending, said Delaney had apologised for the offence during garda interview. He handed in a medical report which he said outlined Delaney's ‘catalogue of diseases and difficulties.’
Mr Farrell said Delaney had been a chronic alcohol abuser drinking up to 20 cans a day and had a serious drug problem but was currently clean.
He said Delaney's one point of pride was his son who has had some success playing football and had never come to garda attention. He asked the court to take into account Delaney's plea of guilty.