Burglar who pointed gun at boy’s head has sentence increased

Simon Gentles of Finglas pleaded guilty to aggravated burglary at a home in Co Clare


A burglar who pointed a loaded shotgun at the head of a 15-year-old boy and threatened to shoot his mother after bursting into their home has had his sentence increased by the Court of Appeal.

Simon Gentles (29) with an address at Casement Grove, Finglas, Dublin, pleaded guilty to aggravated burglary at a home in Sixmilebridge, Co Clare, on January 7th, 2010.

He was sentenced to four years imprisonment by Judge Carroll Moran at Ennis Circuit Criminal Court on February 6th, 2012.

On foot of an application by the Director of Public Prosecutions, the Court of Appeal found the appropriate sentence for Gentles was 10 years imprisonment, with the final four suspended.

Mr Justice Alan Mahon said Gentles had forcefully burst into the home of a Ms Fitzpatrick in an isolated part of the country on January 7th, 2010 while his co-accused remained outside.

The home had been targeted because of a belief that there had been a considerable amount of cash in the house at the time, Mr Justice Mahon said. The subsequent 15 minutes were undoubtedly traumatic and frightening for Ms Fitzpatrick and her 15-year-old son.

The judge said there was a threat to blow Ms Fitzpatrick’s head off and Gentles prodded her with the shotgun before pointing it at the boy’s head.

He said Gentles wore a balaclava, carried a sawn-off shotgun and made it known to his victims that the gun was loaded.

Mr Justice Mahon said the forceful entry into a home – particularly in rural parts of the country – was “unfortunately common”, but this had to stand out as a particularly terrifying ordeal for the house’s occupants.

Having regard to the particularly violent and threatening nature of this offence involving a loaded firearm used to threaten his victims, Mr Justice Mahon said, an appropriate sentence would have been in the region of 10 years with three years suspended

The court suspended a further year having regard to the courses taken in prison by Gentles.

Gentles and his co-accused were arrested thanks to excellent garda work, the judge said.

Gentles has 82 previous convictions, including a three-year sentence for assaulting a garda.

He was returned to prison to serve out his new sentence.