Man accused of attacking Co Cork homeowner with yardbrush

Thomas O’Neill remanded in custody after being charged over aggravated burglary

The suspect was arrested nearby and brought to Bandon Garda Station where he was detained for questioning. Photograph: Google Maps

The suspect was arrested nearby and brought to Bandon Garda Station where he was detained for questioning. Photograph: Google Maps

 

A man has been remanded in custody charged in connection with an aggravated burglary in Co Cork in which a sleeping homeowner was attacked by an intruder armed with a yardbrush.

Thomas O’Neill (45), also known as Thomas Savage, was charged with carrying out an aggravated burglary at Derrigra, Enniskeane. It is alleged that he entered the premises and committed a burglary while armed with a yardbrush.

Det Garda Kevin Heffernan gave evidence of arrest, charge and caution and told a special sitting of Clonakilty District Court that gardaí were objecting to bail on the grounds of the seriousness of the charges and the fact the charge can carry a sentence up to 14 years.

He also based his objection to bail on the nature and strength of the evidence against Mr O’Neill, alleging that he broke into the house and attacked the man (57) who had fallen asleep while watching television.

Det Heffernan alleged there was strong evidence against Mr O’Neill as the homeowner’s adult son and daughter came downstairs after hearing a disturbance and pursued Mr O’Neill in their car as he fled.

He alleged that Mr O’Neill was arrested by gardaí on a laneway some 200 yards from the house where the burglary took place and there would be strong identification evidence both from the injured party and his son and daughter as well as local CCTV footage.

Public safety

Det Garda Heffernan said gardaí were also objecting to bail on the ground that Mr O’Neill was a heroin addict who would commit further offences. He also objected on the ground that he feared for the safety of members of the public if Mr O’Neill was granted bail.

Defence solicitor Myra Dineen said her client was seeking bail and Mr O’Neill took the witness box to say that he would attend court if granted bail and he would surrender his passport and abide by any bail conditions sought by gardaí.

Mr O’Neill, who in unemployed and was granted free legal aid, also denied that he was addicted to heroin and denied that he would commit further offences if granted bail, saying that he had completed a methadone programme and was no longer an addict.

Supt Declan O’Sullivan put it to Mr O’Neill, a native of Swords in Co Dublin, that he had only stayed one night a week for the past three weeks at the address he had furnished gardaí, namely Haven Cottage, Farnivane, Bandon.

Mr O’Neill said he had been back to Dublin to visit his mother but when Supt O’Sullivan asked Mr O’Neill where he kept his personal belongings as gardaí had found none at Haven Cottage, Mr O’Neill said that he was “a bit disoriented” because of events and was unable to answer.

Judge John King refused Mr O’Neill bail on the grounds that he accepted that he would be a danger to the public and he remanded him in custody to appear again at Cork District Court on December 29th.