Man jailed for 14 years after foiled armed raid in Cork

Niall Fitzpatrick had 63 previous convictions including two for armed robbery, court hears

At Cork Circuit Criminal Court, Judge David Riordan noted  Niall Fitzpatrick’s latest crime  came 
twenty
20 years on from the first armed robbery conviction. Photograph: Alan Betson

At Cork Circuit Criminal Court, Judge David Riordan noted Niall Fitzpatrick’s latest crime came twenty 20 years on from the first armed robbery conviction. Photograph: Alan Betson

 

A 47-year-old man, with previous convictions for armed robbery, has been sentenced to 14 years in jail after being caught with a loaded shotgun outside the home of a Cork businessman.

Niall Fitzpatrick with an address at Corrin Close, The Glen, Cork, had denied a total of four charges arising from an incident at the home of Patrick Glavin on August 11th, 2013.

Fitzpatrick, a native of Togher in Cork city, had denied both possession of a Remington 12-guage pump-action shotgun and the possession of ammunition at Mr Glavin’s home in Glanmire.

Fitzpatrick had also denied further charges of attempted burglary and attempted aggravated burglary at Mr Glavin’s home, leading to a 20-day trial at Cork Circuit Criminal Court.

A jury took just under four hours to find him guilty of all four charges by a 10-2 majority and Judge David Riordan remanded him in custody for sentence on the charges today.

Det Insp Brian Goulding said gardaí obtained confidential information the Glavin family had been targeted for a raid to take place at their home when they were present.

Mr Glavin ran a series of mobile chip vans and the gang behind the raid believed there would be a significant quantity of cash in a safe at the Glavin home.

The family was notified and evacuated as gardaí mounted a surveillance operation with members of the armed Regional Support Unit (RSU) inside and outside the house.

Three men approached the house when it was dark and one climbed on a windowsill to the office where a window was open, said Det Insp Goulding.

One RSU member detonated a stun grenade giving off what was described as three million candles of light to disorientate the three men as other RSU men moved forward.

A man armed with a shotgun was identified as Niall Fitzpatrick.

The three men jumped over a wall to get away and two were caught shortly afterwards, but Fitzpatrick escaped. Gardaí later recovered a loaded shotgun.

Fitzpatrick denied being present on the night and he told gardaí he spent the day fishing, buying dinner, making dinner, playing with his kids and later drinking with friends.

Det Insp Goulding said it was a co-accused who targeted the Glavin home and he and Fitzpatrick carried out reconnaissance on the house during several visits to Rougrane.

Fitzpatrick had 63 previous convictions including an eight-year term for armed robbery in Cork in 2003 and a seven-year sentence for armed robbery in Dublin in 1993.

Addressing the court on behalf of Fitzpatrick, defence counsel Brendan Nix SC said he had “never seen in my entire existence such a lust to put someone behind bars”.

Mr Nix complained about the behaviour of armed member of the RSU present in court during the trial, accusing them of “sexing up the equipment”.

Judge David Riordan noted that Fitzpatrick’s latest crime while armed with a shotgun occurred in August 2013, came 20 years on from the first armed robbery conviction.

Part of the function of sentencing was to deter Fitzpatrick or others minded to commit similar crimes and the crimes at Rougrane were at the higher end of the scale, he said.

“The crimes took some degree of planning, a certain amount of stealth and preparation was also involved . . . I am not told he was labouring under an addiction,” he said.

Mr Nix applied for the suspension of some of the term, saying his client will be almost 60-years-old when he comes out but the judge said he had factored that into account.

Wearing a plastic bag with two eye holes over his head, Fitzpatrick shouted “I’m innocent of this f**king charge” as he was escorted from court to a waiting prison van.