Tuesday 25 October 2016

From roaring criminal to wearing Rosary beads for sentencing - the changing face of armed raider Thomas Flynn

Thomas Flynn at Clonmel Circuit Court yesterday - on the right, he's pictured at Cashel District Court in November 2013
Thomas Flynn at Clonmel Circuit Court yesterday - on the right, he's pictured at Cashel District Court in November 2013

As criminal Thomas Flynn arrived at Cashel District Court in November 2013, he roared.

The then 19-year-old looked directly into the lens of a TV camera and photographer and continuously roared at the top of his voice as prison officers walked him from the court house to the prison van.

He was angry and out of control, his face turning puce as he looked into the cameras and howled, while handcuffed to a prison officer

The resulting image taken by Press 22's Liam Burke encapsulated the brutality of the gang, with many imagining the terror the young family of Mark and Emma Corcoran must have felt when confronted by Flynn and his six accomplices.

Burke captured Flynn mid-roar, his face contorted into a raging snarl. The image was reproduced by most media outlets - and Flynn became the horrible poster boy for the feral criminal gangs roaming their way throughout rural Ireland, and terrifying the innocent people whose homes they raid.

READ MORE: Smirking thugs laugh and joke as they're jailed for barbaric attack on family

When Flynn appeared before Clonmel Circuit Court on Tuesday, he looked almost unrecognisable.

Sporting a tight haircut, a seemingly relaxed Flynn appeared before court wearing a white open-necked shirt and wearing rosary beads around his neck. As he left the court house, Flynn kept quiet this time.

Although he didn't appear too concerned about this sentence, Flynn was a different character to the one who appeared in Cashel in November.

Two weeks before he participated in the terrifying raid on Mark and Emma Corcoran's home, Flynn was released on bail in connection to possession of a firearm and ammunition.

Flynn, a single man with an address at Moatview Avenue in Coolock, has 20 previous convictions which included offences under the Public Order Act, the Road Traffic Act, Misuse of Drugs Act, along with theft, danerous driving, and possession of a firearm and ammunition.

He was on bail at the time of the incident at the Corcorans’ home outside Killenaule in Co Tipperary, in relation to possession of a firearm and ammunition just two weeks’ beforehand. He was since given a three and a half year prison term, which he is currently serving, for this crime.

Flynn was interviewed by investigating gardaí nine times in relation to this aggravated burglary and, during the ninth interview, said "I'm sorry but it was nothing to do with me”.

Sentencing, Judge Thomas Teehan said the case had multiple aggravating factors, the most significant of which was the effect it had on the Corcoran family, whose home, at Burnchurch, near Killenaule in south Tipperary, was broken into by the gang early on November 21, 2013.

The raiders were armed with a sawn-off shotgun, a handgun and a machete and all of them were wearing balaclavas.

"The five were awoken from sleep in the family home in the most violent manner by what must have seemed like an army of sinister-looking intruders," the judge said.

The court heard on Tuesday that Mark Corcoran suffered a fractured eye socket when he was struck on the face with a gun, that his wife was forcibly removed from her bedroom - the two older daughters witnessed the event from the family's hallway - and the youngest daughter, who was two at the time, was found rocking herself and her teddy in her cot.

Threats were made to the couple that the gang would kill the children and they were left in fear for their family's lives.

"No human being of any age should ever have to witness such an egregiously violent scene and most especially in their own home," the judge said.

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