Burglars abandoned break-in after couple blocked door, court told

Man (22) who was 16 at the time of the offence is sentenced to 3½ years

Judge Pauline Codd said the  attack was a terrifying ordeal for the homeowners.  Photograph: Cyril Byrne / The Irish Times

Judge Pauline Codd said the attack was a terrifying ordeal for the homeowners. Photograph: Cyril Byrne / The Irish Times


Two home owners were left terrified after they stopped armed burglars forcing their way into their home, a court has heard.

Michael Cawley was 16 years old when he and two other men tried to push their way into the house on Brewery Road, Stillorgan, Dublin in February 2014. Cawley was using a screwdriver to try to jimmy the door open but the couple inside the house held their bodies against the door until the raiders gave up and left.

After failing to get into the house Cawley (22) broke into a home on Wilson Road in nearby Mount Merrion. He stole €5,000 worth of property including jewellery, a Playstation games console and 600 cigarettes.

He also stole the family BMW which was parked in front of the house. The car was later found close to his home in a halting site at Daltree Place, Ballycullen.

When gardaí­ went to search this address they also found the games console. Cawley absconded to the UK where he picked up charges for a burglary in 2016.

On his return to Ireland he was arrested and later pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to attempted burglary at Woodford, Brewery Road, Stillorgan, on February 28th 2014. He also pleaded guilty to burglary on the same date.

He has previous convictions for burglary and dangerous driving.

At a sentence hearing on Monday Judge Pauline Codd said that the earlier attack was a terrifying ordeal for the homeowners, whose son was forced to lock himself in his bedroom. She said the family now feel unsafe in their own home during the day and night and have turned their house into a type of fortress.

She said the destruction of the front door cost them €3,000 to repair.

Judge Codd set a headline sentence of six years imprisonment but reduced this to three and a half years after taking into consideration Cawley’s youth at the time, his drug addiction issues and his difficult childhood.

The court heard that after Cawley’s mother died when he was aged 12, he left school, started hanging around with local lads and taking drugs. His father had a stroke not long after and Cawley had to care for him.

Judge Codd noted that he was under older “pro-criminal” influences at the time and that nobody came for him while he was being held in custody.

She suspended the final six months on condition that Cawley continue to deal with his drug addiction issues.

Cawley told Judge Codd that he was terribly sorry for what he had put the couple in the first house through.