A man who got a self-confessed member of a notorious Dublin gang to terrify his mother and stepfather has been jailed for five-and-a-half years.
Darius McAteer appeared before Letterkenny Circuit Court in Co Donegal, where he pleaded guilty to a range of charges arising from a terrifying experience only days before Christmas last year.
McAteer, along with accomplice Stephen Darby, broke into the house at Admiran Park, Stranorlar, on December 19.
The pair, who have nearly 150 previous convictions between them, entered the property of Geraldine and Rory McGonagle at 1.45am and threatened the couple.
As well as saying they would burn down the house, they told Mr McGonagle he would be shot in both knees.
McAteer had banged on his mother's door saying he had "brought the boys down from Dublin".
When she answered, Darby jumped from behind a hedge and the pair stormed the house.
Darby, a 46-year-old self-confessed former member of the notorious Westies gang, grapp-led with Mr McGonagle upstairs.
At one stage, he had both of the terrified couple's children, aged four and six, under his arm and was threatening to kill them.
During the break-in, Darby said he would petrol bomb the house with Mr and Mrs McGonagle and the children in it.
He was previously jailed by the same court for six years arising out of charges for the same incident.
The court was told McAteer's involvement had not been as severe as Darby's, but he had organised the attack on the household.
Evidence was given by gardaí of how McAteer was "gobbing away behind the co-accused".
Both McAteer and Darby ass- aulted Mr McGonagle.
Gardaí arrived and both were arrested.
McAteer pleaded guilty to all five counts before the court including burglary, threatening to kill or cause serious harm and assault.
Citing the aggressive features of the incident, Judge John Aylmer said McAteer and the co-accused had undertaken a "forced and violent entry" into the McGonagle home in the small hours of the morning.
Placing the burglary offence at the higher end of the scale, Judge Alymer said it would merit a nine-year prison sentence.
He referred to the joint enterprise that saw the co-accused, Darby, aided and abetted by McAteer who had been intoxicated on the night.
McAteer's threat to kill charge merited a five-year sentence, the judge indicated.
However, he referred to the early plea of guilty "albeit that he was caught red-handed" and accepted he was remorseful and had taken steps in relation to his alcohol and drug addictions.
He reduced the sentence of nine years for burglary to seven-a-half-years while also reducing the five-year sentence on the threat to kill charge to four years.
He took into consideration two counts of assault.
The judge suspended the final two years of the sentence on the burglary charge on condition that he enter a bond to keep the peace for two years, engage with psychiatric and probation services and abstain from drugs and alcohol.