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'Any loud noise sends shivers down our spines': Family says life has changed since gunpoint robbery

The gang was armed with a sawn-off shotgun, a sledge hammer, and a baseball bat, Limerick Circuit Court heard.

Image: Shutterstock/Militarist

A FAMILY WHO were tied up and robbed at gunpoint by a criminal gang five years ago, continue to feel terrified in their home following the ordeal, a court heard today.

Today, three men convicted of the crime — including father and son, Patrick Roche (53) and Philip Roche (25), of Kilcronan Close, Clondalkin, Dublin — were remanded in custody after their sentencing was adjourned to 24 November.

Both men had denied the aggravated burglary as well as the false imprisonment of Gerry and Ann Garvey along with their four children, at the Garvey home, Sunville House, Pallasgreen, Co Limerick, on 16 April 2012.

They, along with a third accused, Alan Freeman, (37), of Pearse Park, Tipperary Town, who also denied the charges, were all previously found guilty of the charges by a jury, following a nine-week trial at Limerick Circuit Court.

The gang was armed with a sawn-off shotgun, a sledge hammer, and a baseball bat, Limerick Circuit Court heard.

Gerry Garvey, (60), was punched in the head and handcuffed, and had a gun put to his head. The gang also tied up Ann Garvey and their four children.

The gang made off with $3,000 and £2,000 from the family’s safe. Gardai later recovered $1,850 of the stolen cash.

The Garveys were not present for today’s sentencing hearing, but in a victim impact statement, read out on their behalf, Gerry Garvey said their lives had “changed dramatically” as a result of the “frightening” burglary.

“Up to that point our home was a place of peace and tranquility where our children happily roamed…without a care in the world,” he said.

“As a result of this horrible event, all of us feel constantly edgy and fearful, even within the confines of the house.”

“Doors are now almost always locked and none of the children will venture outside once dusk appears.”

He described how “any loud noise” “sends shivers down our spines in a way that never previously existed.”

His daughter Gillian, who was aged 14 at the time incident, wrote in the joint family statement: “I still have a fear of going outside around the grounds of the house at night because I think somebody is watching me.”

She added: “Since the robbery I also get the feeling that random men on the street are watching me or they were in the robbery.”

Her twin brother Graham, who was assaulted during the robbery, said: “If I go outside in the evenings I think someone is (going to) to attack me.”

“At night, I don’t like going down the back stairs because I think that a man is going to smash in the front door. When I come in the back door I always run up the stairs because I think someone is going to run up after me.”

Graham Garvey added he could no longer watch television crime programmes “because it brings it all back to me and then I have nightmares again about that night.”

The family praised “the great support of the local and regional gardai who have been there for us at all times”.

Patrick and Philip Roche were also remanded in custody for sentencing for a separate aggravated burglary in which they tied up and assaulted three elderly siblings at their home in Pallasgreen, six weeks after the attack at the Garveys home.

Sergeant Mike Reidy, Henry Street Garda Station, told the court, the three victims, Willie Creed (79); Nora Creed (71); and Chrissie Creed (77), were “subjected to serious violence” during the burglary in which €5,000 in cash, that had been hidden in a sock at the Creeds home, was stolen.

About the author:

David Raleigh

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