Elderly man cycles 30 miles to flee repeat robbers

Court hears bachelor set off from rural Clare home and cycled for eight hours to nursing home

Joseph Lernihan (21) of Finnanon Park, Mullagh, Co Clare,  pleaded guilty to robbing Michael  McMahon at Drumellihy West, Cree on February 21st and 25th, 2012, while Shane Donnellan (20), Clohanbeg, Cree, Kilrush and Noel Garry (20) of Tullycrine, Kilrush pleaded guilty to the robbery of Mr McMahon on February 25th, 2012.  Photograph: Reuters

Joseph Lernihan (21) of Finnanon Park, Mullagh, Co Clare, pleaded guilty to robbing Michael McMahon at Drumellihy West, Cree on February 21st and 25th, 2012, while Shane Donnellan (20), Clohanbeg, Cree, Kilrush and Noel Garry (20) of Tullycrine, Kilrush pleaded guilty to the robbery of Mr McMahon on February 25th, 2012. Photograph: Reuters

Mon, Jan 20, 2014, 18:50

A 68-year old man abandoned his home, cycling 30 miles through the night to check himself into a nursing home after being terrorised by robbers at his remote home in west Clare.

Ennis Circuit Court heard today that bachelor Michael McMahon set off from his home in Cree at 1am with his belongings in a few bags on his pushbike and cycled for eight hours to St Joseph’s nursing home in Ennis, where he checked himself in at 9am that morning.

Mr McMahon remains in nursing home care today after fleeing his home following two nights of being put in “absolute fear” by robbers almost two years ago, with the criminals making threats on the second occasion that they were going to return to rob him for a third time - this time for €50,000.

Outlining the facts in court, Det Garda Donal Corkery said that on the second occasion, the robbers put the rung of a gate through a broken window at Mr McMahon’s home, pretending that it was a gun and threatening to shoot him.

Det Corkery said Mr McMahon was living alone in the rural, remote location two miles from the village of Cooraclare without any electricity or running water.

However, Det Corkery said that Mr McMahon had cash in his home from an inheritance he received from America.

In court today, three west Clare men pleaded guilty to robbing Mr McMahon.

In the case, Joseph Lernihan (21) of Finnanon Park, Mullagh pleaded guilty to robbing Mr McMahon at Drumellihy West, Cree on February 21st and 25th, 2012, while Shane Donnellan (20), Clohanbeg, Cree, Kilrush and Noel Garry (20) of Tullycrine, Kilrush pleaded guilty to the robbery of Mr McMahon on February 25th, 2012.

Det Corkery said that over the two nights around €7,000 in cash was taken from Mr McMahon.

In evidence, Det Corkery said that at 10pm on February 21st, Mr McMahon heard banging outside his home and could see three torches in the darkness outside.

Det Corkery said that on this occasion, three windows of Mr McMahon’s home were broken and Mr McMahon could see three people outside all were wearing hoodies.

Det Corkery said the three demanded €500 from outside the house and Mr McMahon was frightened and told them through a broken window that he would give them that sum.

State counsel, Stephen Coughlan BL, said the robbers were not happy with €500 “and they threatened to come into the house and search the house if he didn’t give them more”.

Mr Coughlan said Mr McMahon, “in a state of absolute fear”, handed the robbers three jars containing roughly €4,000 in cash.

Det Corkery said: “One jar contained €500. They demanded more, he handed out a second jar containing roughly €1,000. They kept demanding more money and he handed out a third jar with the three jars roughly containing a little more than €4,000. That was all the money he had in the house.”

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