Raiders agreed to plead guilty so court wouldn't hear 'harrowing' 999 call
The seven thugs who terrorised a young family in Tipperary agreed to plead guilty on the condition that the State did not play the recordings from the 999 call.
At 3.15am on November 21 Mark and Emma Corcoran and their three daughters - aged eight, six and two - were awoken when the raiders first tried to break down the front door of their bungalow at Burnchurch, outside Killenaule. The robbers then smashed in the front window.
During their ordeal Mr Corcoran was tied up, beaten and threatened by the thugs while his two older daughters watched in horror.
Mrs Corcoran managed to make a 999 call and hid the phone with the call still active under the bed, before the armed gang members threatened "we'll kill your f***ing kids".
It's believed that the seven thugs agreed to plead guilty on the condition that the State did not play the recordings from the 999 call,s which sources said were "harrowing" to listen to with the sound of the young children screaming.
"They (the accused) were afraid of what might happen to them if the judge or a jury heard the tapes," a source said. "They agreed to plead guilty if the tapes weren't played in court."
On Thursday the gang members - Dean Byrne (22) of Cabra Park; Patrick Gately (28) of Primrose Grove, Darndale; John Joyce (21) of Lentisk Lawn, Donaghmede; Michael McDonagh (23) of Tara Lawns, Coolock, Patrick Joyce (23) of Beaumont Hall, Beaumont; Thomas Flynn (21) of Moatview Avenue, Coolock; Donal O'Hara (22) of Glin Park, Coolock - who all pleaded guilty - were jailed for a total of 72 years.
John Joyce was driving the Volkswagen Passat which was apprehended by gardai as it drove on the motorway back to Dublin. The 21-year-old is a married man with two daughters and Clonmel Circuit Court was told he has 55 previous convictions. His senior counsel said John Joyce was at the "low range of cognitive function".
His brother, Patrick Joyce, has 16 previous convictions, including for theft, trespass and public order offences.
Thomas Flynn (21), who was on bail at the time, has 20 previous convictions for Public Order and Misuse of Drugs offences and theft.
Michael McDonagh is the only member of the gang with no previous convictions. The 23-year-old took part in the raid "in part-payment of a drug debt".
Donal O'Hara (22) - the fifth raider caught in the Passat - told gardai he was picked up on the night of the raid but didn't go into the Corcorans' house.
Patrick Gately (28) was driving the stolen Kia Sorrento which eventually had to stop near Newlands Cross. He has 85 previous convictions.
Dean Byrne (22) was a passenger in the Kia and has 120 previous convictions, 80 of them for road traffic offences, along with criminal damage, drink driving and violent disorder.