Three men have been given lengthy prison sentences for their part in two violent robberies in Co Limerick five years ago.

Patrick Roche, 54, from Clondalkin in Dublin was given a 17-year sentence at Limerick Circuit Court.

His son Phillip Roche, 24, has been given a 15-year sentence, and 37-year-old Alan Freeman, a son-in-law of Patrick Roche, was given a 14-year sentence.

The final three years of all three sentences were suspended.

They were imposed by Judge John Hannon for a violent robbery on the Garvey family, in which Gerard Garvey and his two teenage children were assaulted and threatened at gunpoint in April 2012.

They were also imposed for a violent robbery on Willie Creed and his two elderly sisters, Nora and Chrissy, who are all aged in their 70s, at their home at Ballyluddy, Pallasgreen, Limerick, on 31 May 2012.

Imposing sentence, Judge Hannon said the crimes displayed a level of brutality and menace inflicted on elderly vulnerable people, and also on a family in which teenage children were assaulted.

He said the attack on the elderly Creed family was a sickening experience.

The judge said he wanted to ensure that there was an element of deterrent in his sentencing, particularly when it came to elderly and young people.