Three men have been found guilty of multiple charges in connection with a "sustained and brutal" attack on security guards protecting a repossessed house near Strokestown, Co Roscommon, in 2018.

Patrick Sweeney, 44, of High Cairn, Ramelton in Co Donegal; Martin O'Toole, 58 of Stripe, Irishtown Claremorris, Co Mayo; and 56-year-old Paul Beirne of Boyle, Co Roscommon, have been found guilty of 15 of the 17 charges they faced.

A fourth man, 43-year-old David Lawlor of Navan in Co Meath, has been found not guilty on all counts.

(L-R) Patrick Sweeney, Paul Beirne and Martin O'Toole were found guilty of 15 of the 17 charges they faced

The three others were remanded in custody for sentencing at the end of this month.

The prosecution case was that the three men took part in sustained and brutal violence in the early hours of the morning of 16 December 2018 at the house at Falsk at Strokestown.

The house had been repossessed by KBC bank, and the owner of the property, Anthony McGann who lived there with two siblings, had been forcibly removed five days earlier.

Security personnel were staying at the house, sleeping and keeping watch in shifts.

The prosecution said the goals of the attack were to get the security guards out of the house and ensure they did not come back.

The repossessed house in Falsk outside Strokestown

The jurors were told that at 5am on the morning of 16 December, a group of around 20 to 30 people arrived at the property in a truck or a lorry.

The court heard they were armed with pick axes, chainsaws, meat cleavers, baseball bats, a stick with nails in it, a chain saw and hurleys and that they forced their way into the house.

The security guards were seriously assaulted. Their vehicles were set on fire, windows and doors in the house were smashed and a German Shepherd dog was beaten and had to be put down by a vet.

The jury was told that the case was being taken on the legal principle of "joint enterprise", which states that where a number of people are acting with an agreed common purpose, each of them can be held responsible for the actions of the others.

It was the prosecution case that the men were involved in a joint enterprise amongst themselves and with others to carry out the offences.

One of the security guards who had been attacked told the jury he thought he was going to die.

Ian Gordon, described how his German Shepherd dog, called Quinn, was beaten unconscious with a baseball bat and how he was forced to eat its faeces.

The dog was later put down due to the severity of its injuries.

All the victims gave evidence about being terrified and in fear for their lives.

Defence lawyers claimed the evidence against their clients was too weak to safely convict them and that the prosecution case was flawed and contaminated.

Patrick Sweeney, Paul Beirne and Martin O'Toole were found guilty of false imprisonment and assault causing harm to four security personnel, arson to three vehicles, aggravated burglary, criminal damage to the front door of the house, violent disorder, and finally, causing unnecessary suffering to an animal by causing or permitting an animal to be struck on the head.

They were found not guilty of arson to one of the cars, a Vauxhall which was set alight and robbery of a wristwatch from one security guard.

The jury deliberated for 13 hours and 58 mins since last Thursday.

The men will be sentenced on Friday 30 June.