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Wednesday 16 October 2019

Man jailed over fatal attack on two men robbed house... as couple were celebrating own wedding

Sean Keogh is awaiting sentence for the burglary.
Photo: Garrett White / Collins
Sean Keogh is awaiting sentence for the burglary. Photo: Garrett White / Collins

A burglar raided a bride and groom's home on their wedding day, stealing their car at what should have been the "happiest time of their lives".

Sean Keogh (30) first took an iPad and phones, then tried to escape gardai in the couple's VW Polo, ramming a patrol car twice and going "airborne" before crashing in the ensuing high-speed chase.

The couple only learned of the break-in when they returned from their wedding the next morning to find a garda car in their driveway.

Screwdriver

Keogh was once jailed for four years for his part in a horrific attack on two Polish workers who were murdered by another man.

He was sentenced in 2010 for kicking Pawel Kalite in the head as he fell to the ground after being fatally stabbed by a co-accused with a screwdriver.

Keogh admitted the assault on Mr Kalite but was acquitted of murdering the two men, while his co-accused David Curran was found guilty of the killings and jailed for life.

The burglary is Keogh's latest crime to come before the courts.

Judge John Hughes remanded him in custody over the burglary pending victim impact evidence and sentencing.

Keogh, of Emmet Crescent, Inchicore, pleaded guilty to burglary, unauthorised taking of a car and three counts of dangerous driving.

Garda Paul Nolan told Dublin District Court that gardai were called to the scene of the burglary at Goldenbridge Terrace, Inchicore, at 9.40pm on September 22 last year.

Sean Keogh was convicted of assault over the incident that led to the deaths of Marius Szwajkos and Pawel Kalite
Sean Keogh was convicted of assault over the incident that led to the deaths of Marius Szwajkos and Pawel Kalite

En route, gardai learned a black VW Polo had been taken and they saw this vehicle driving directly toward them at Goldenbridge Avenue.

It performed a handbrake manoeuvre, striking the patrol car once, then mounted the pavement and reversed back into the patrol car again.

It continued driving toward Anner Road, where another patrol car drove in front, blocking it.

The Polo mounted a pavement to evade the second garda car and drove toward St Michael's Estate.

As it crashed over a ramp, all four wheels left the road.

Fled

The accused and passenger got out and fled across waste ground but were arrested.

Three iPhones and an iPad taken in the burglary were recovered from the scene.

The car keys were taken from inside the house and the couple's car was then stolen.

The victims were married that evening and were celebrating their wedding when the burglary happened, Gda Nolan said.

There were a number of calls from neighbours at the front and rear who could see people inside the house and knew the victims were out, celebrating their wedding.

The couple were notified when they came home. A window had been broken and gardai remained there to keep the scene safe.

"The bride and groom came home the next morning to find a garda car in their driveway," Gda Nolan said.

Arrangements had to be made to have the window repaired and a garda technical examination of the house and car had to be carried out.

There was damage to the front bumper and rear of the Polo but it was not written off, the court heard.

Keogh had 80 previous convictions, for offences including the assault, as well as burglary, violent disorder, criminal damage and endangerment.

The previous burglary related to a building site, and defence barrister Conor Burke said he did not want the court to have the impression that Keogh was "a habitual burglar who targets residential homes".

For a couple "celebrating the happiest time of their lives to come home to find this was deeply upsetting", Mr Burke said.

Keogh "wholeheartedly apologised" to the victims.

He had been a talented footballer who got a football scholarship when he was younger but this career ended with an ankle injury.

Keogh began associating with a negative social group and became involved in petty crime, which got worse over the years.

Tablets

He suffered from anxiety, made worse by self-medication, and he was committing thefts to get money to buy more tablets, Mr Burke said.

Being involved in a high-speed chase and robbing houses was a stressful business, Judge Hughes said, before adjourning the case.

A co-accused in the burglary has also been before the courts.

Pawel Kalite (28) and Marius Szwajkos (27) both died after David Curran, then aged 17, stabbed them in the head with a screwdriver in an attack on February 23, 2008, on Benbulben Road, Drimnagh.

Keogh delivered a "vicious kick" to Mr Kalite's head seconds after he was stabbed, a court heard at the time.

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