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Depraved thugs put couple through hell

A man who was part of a gang of "depraved barbarians" who terrorised and tied up couple in their own home has been given an 18-year sentence.

Michael Delaney (36), of Tyrconnell Road, Inchicore pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to aggravated burglary with a hammer and the false imprisonment of James and Sally Mountaine at their Templeogue home on February 3 last year.

Judge Tony Hunt noted parts of the victim impact reports of the couple which, he said, showed the impact of the crimes on the victims. He said the couple had suffered a terrifying experience "meted out by an organised group of depraved barbarians".

Mr Mountaine outlined in his victim impact report that he would "never forget the horror of that morning". He said he was attacked, thrown to the floor and threatened.

"I thought we would never get out of it alive," he said.

Mrs Mountaine said in her impact statement she had been bound, threatened with being set on fire and had hair pulled out.

She said she felt lucky to be alive.





Apologised

The incident came to an end when the house doorbell rang and the men fled. Gardai, who had been alerted by a concerned friend of the couple, arrived and Delaney was arrested nearby. Judge Hunt imposed an 18- year sentence and suspended the final six years of the sentence on strict conditions.

Remy Farrell, defending, said Delaney had apologised for the offence during garda interview. He said Delaney had been a chronic alcohol abuser who drank up to 20 cans a day and had a serious drug problem but was currently clean.

He said Delaney's one point of pride was his son, who has had some success playing football.

He asked the court to take into account Delaney's plea of guilty.

Mrs Mountaine had told a previous could hearing that she had been about to go out the door when it was pushed in and four men wearing balaclava's came in. One of them told her, "you are going nowhere". She was pushed to the ground and kicked several times.





Hatchet

Her husband was in the hallway and was tied and bound by the men and his wife was bound as well.

The men demanded money. One of them had a hammer and one had a hatchet.

During the ordeal the men threatened the couple that they were going to kill them and burn Mrs Mountaine's hair.

The men said they knew Mr Mountaine worked at a golf club, kept hitting him and seemed to believe he had brought money home.

Mrs Mountaine was hit by a man and they kept asking her husband for money.

He told them there was no money and she was tied around the ankles with cable ties.

The men told her they would strangle her and put a rope around her mouth. She was threatened that her hair would be set on fire.

The threats continued and Mrs Mountaine observed what she thought was a gun.

A small sum of money was retrieved at one stage but the gang believed there was more. The incident lasted about 10 or 15 minutes.

hnews@herald.ie