Two jailed over attempted raid on home of businessman

Judge says actions of ‘gangsters’ must not be tolerated

Mon, Feb 24, 2014, 15:37

Two men have been jailed for 12 years and seven years respectively after subjecting a family to what a judge described as a terrifying ordeal when they attempted to rob them in their home in Co Cork last year.

Trevor O’Sullivan (38) from Curraheen Close, Bishopstown in Cork; and Vincent Murray (38) from Glandore Park, Knocknaheeney, Cork; both pleaded to attempted aggravated burglary at the home of businessman, Pat Glavin at Rougrane, Glanmire, Co Cork on August 11th, 2013.

Judge Sean O Donnabhain said that it was hard “to imagine the terror and the upset” Mr Glavin and his partner, Esther Delaney and their two daughters, aged 12 and nine, endured after they were informed by gardai the accused and others had targeted their home.

“To expose a citizen to this sort of risk from gangsters should not be tolerated in this city,” said Judge O’Donnabhain as he sentenced O’Sullivan to 15 years in jail with three years suspended and Murray to ten years in jail with three years suspended.

Det Insp Brian Goulding told Cork Circuit Criminal Court that as a result of intelligence received gardaí became aware O’Sullivan and another man had targeted Mr Glavin who ran a successful fast-food van catering business.

Gardai learned of the planned burglary in June and mounted a surveillance operation on Mr Glavin’s home in a rural part of Glanmire.

O’Sullivan was observed carrying out reconnaissance on Mr Glavin’s home from nearby fields on July 29th, 2013.

Two days later on July 31st, 2013, O’Sullivan and another man were observed being dropped off by a third man near the house around 10.30am and carrying out further reconnaissance and they were again dropped off that night at 10.30pm where they did a further stake out.

Gardaí believed the gang planned to carry out the robbery on the Bank Holiday Monday, August 5th, and having informed Mr Glavin and his family that they were the target of a planned raid, gardaí moved the Glavins out of their home.

However, the raid was called off and the Glavins returned home on August 6th but the worry knowing that they were the intended target of a robbery took a toll on the family before gardaí confirmed the gang now planned to rob them on August 11th.

The family were advised of the date of the raid and were moved out of the house.

Gardaí learned the gang had bought three ready to go mobile phones at three separate locations in Cork on the morning of August 11th and only began using them that night.

Gardai, including armed members of the Regional Support Unit were in place when a silver Toyota Avensis pulled up near the Glavin house at 10.30pm and three men got out before a rented black Mazda pulled up moments later and the men got items out of the boot.

Gardai could see the outline of a sawn-off shotgun being removed from the boot of the Mazda and they twice heard the word “weapon” being used by the gang as one member of the gang wearing dark clothing went around the rear of the Glavin house.

He returned to meet up with the other two men and all three went around the rear of the house and they had just begun trying to open the window to an office where Mr Glavin carried out his business transactions when the RSU moved in.

Members of the RSU threw stun grenades which give off loud bangs and bright flashes to confuse the target and RSU members moved in, capturing O’Sullivan when he fell to the ground and he was found to be wearing a hat which was a rolled up balaclava.

Murray fled the scene, jumping over a gate into a nearby field where he was found 20 minutes hiding in a ditch and he was found in possession of one of the three ‘clean’ ready to go mobile phones bought earlier that day.

The third man fled the scene with the sawn-off shotgun pursued by members of the RSU but he managed to get away.

Gardaí recovered the gun the next day and it was found to have one cartridge in the chamber and another in the loading breach, the court heard.

Both defendants made no comment during interview said Det Insp Goulding, adding that gardai accepted that Murray only became involved shortly before the raid while O’Sullivan was involved from the outset and played a major part in planning the raid.

“This crime would not have happened were it not for the part played by Mr O’Sullivan - he identified the target,” said Det Insp Goulding as he confirmed that O’Sullivan had a previous conviction for drug dealing and Murray had two previous convictions for robbery.

Judge O Donnabhain noted that there was a clear distinction between the parts played by both accused while he also noted that Murray had gone through a period of rehabilitation, when from the age of 23 to 37, he had stayed away from crime.

He said it was clear the operation was well-planned, well-organised and professional and was carried out with determination where the gang used clean phones, cars that couldn’t be easily traced and, most significantly, a loaded shotgun.

“The Glavins had to live with the constant terror that they were under threat and that this could happen to them at any time,” said Judge O Donnabhain before paying tribute to the professionalism of An Garda Síochána for apprehending the gang.

“The watery expressions of remorse and regret today from both accused to the Glavins would be of cold comfort to the Glavins were it not for the professionalism of An Garda Síochána in saving them from this threat,” he said.