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'You feel completely helpless': Couple describe the day a violent burglary gang raided their home

Just six weeks later, this same gang broke into the home of their elderly neighbours and viciously assaulted them.

A FAMILY HAVE described the terrifying ordeal they endured when a group of men broke into their home in Limerick, threatened them at gunpoint and assaulted them in April 2012.

Just weeks later, these same men brutally assaulted their elderly neighbours in another break-in.

On Friday, 54-year-old Patrick Roche, his son Philip Roche aged 24, both with addresses in Clondalkin in Dublin, and a son-in-law Alan Freeman with an address in Tipperary town were given lengthy prison sentences for their parts in the two violent robberies.

Gerry and Ann Garvey spoke to RTÉ’s Seán O’Rourke this morning about the impact these incidents had on them and on their vulnerable neighbours.

“I heard a very loud bang,” Gerry said, explaining that at first he thought his teenage son and daughter in the next room had just broken something. He then heard glass smashing, and he saw a group of masked and armed men in his home.

When they came in first, it was the usual, shouting, screaming…they said things like ‘We’ll blow your head off’, ‘We’ll take your children, you’ll never see them again’.

“I was in the bath, which is your worst nightmare,” Ann said. Her children had run upstairs to warn her.

“I was mainly concerned with my son and daughter. They were told to lie down and the man put his foot on his [my son's] shoulder. My son was very angry. I didn’t know why he was so angry, I was afraid he was going to hit out at him.”

“I was forced down onto the ground and handcuffed behind my back and the butt of the gun literally forced into my forehead for a period,” Gerry told the radio programme. “It’s quite a frightening moment because you feel completely helpless, there’s absolutely nothing you can do to help yourself or your family.”

‘Left for dead’

Six weeks later, the same men broke into the home of their neighbours, Willie, Nora and Chrissie Creed. They tied up the three siblings, who are all in their 70s, before assaulting them, leaving them covered in blood.

Willie Creed was stabbed in the head with a screwdriver during the ordeal.

“Those three people, they were left for dead,” Ann Garvey said. “It was an incredible situation. It went on for two, two-and-a-half hours and nearly six years on they don’t go out, we don’t see them.”

“Time is a great healer and we have moved on with our lives, but you’ll move on from it, you’ll get on with it to some extent but you’ll never forget it,” her husband said.

Read: Three men jailed for nearly 50 years combined over ‘barbaric’ burglaries>

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