A 10 year sentence was handed down to a “very articulate and clever criminal” whose local knowledge was “central” to a raid on the home of a well known Westmeath businessman.
Brian McGinley(38 ), Blackberry Lane, Athlone, was convicted of being part of an armed four-man gang who tied up the Kilmartin family at Ladyswell, Glasson in Athlone on February 13, 2005. He was sentenced yesterday at a sitting of Mullingar Circuit Court sitting in Tullamore for a charge of aggravated burglary.
During the course of the two hour raid Damien Kilmartin - who runs the N6 Service Station with his wife Rachel - was forced to show the gang where a safe was. When he explained the keys had been lost he was threatened with rape.
Judge Anthony Kennedy described the case as very serious, “this four man gang bursting in by the back door, all masked having balaclavas and armed with a variety of weapons”.
Although serious violence was not used on the compliant family, “there was for instance the disgusting threat to bugger Mr Kilmartin,” Judge Kennedy remarked.
The three children Luke, Daniel, Matthew and their first cousin Rebekka Duffy were tied up along with their mother Rachel and grandfather Tony in a downstairs bathroom. The children ranged in age from nine to 15 at the time of the raid.
After failing to fit the safe into the boot of Mr Kilmartin’s 6-series BMW, the raiders made their escape in a BMW jeep, taking the safe containing €107,000 in jewellery and over €11,000 in cash.
Blood found on the boot of the BMW 645 was later matched to McGinley. The court heard the likelihood of it coming from any one other unrelated person was one in a billion.
Mr Kilmartin was emotional as he read a victim impact statement to the court. No member of his family had slept properly for two years after the attack, he stated.
The attack, he said, had deeply affected his entire family who are now paranoid, “I have turned a loving family home into a fortress,” Mr Kilmartin commented.
During the remainder of 2005 and for all of 2006 the three boys would only go to bed in his room. “We have been very deprived of a normal family existence,” he added.
“In the hours of darkness it is very difficult as we are very much aware at all times that there could be someone in the area.”
Mr Kilmartin said his children were still affected by the crime. “The innocence of the children was brutally taken away,” he remarked.
Although some of the jewellery - which had included a number of family heirlooms - was recovered, none of it was returned to his wife as the insurance had been collected, he explained.
Sincerely thanking the Gardaí for their support and diligence in dealing with the case, Mr Kilmartin said that night “will always remain with us”.
Inspector James Delaney described McGinley as a very articulate and clever criminal. “I believe his local knowledge was central to the planning of this raid,” he remarked.
Gardaí were investigating the possibility that the raid was carried out in collaboration with a gang from Tallaght, where some of the jewellery was subsequently discovered, he explained.
He said McGinley also went by the name Bernard and had five previous convictions, two for larceny, one for assault, and two for road traffic offences.
Defence counsel, Colman Fitzgerald SC said his client had recently endured mental health problems. He said the man was a father of six young children and had never appeared before a Circuit Court before.
He told Judge Kennedy a custodial sentence would have a serious impact on the man’s family.
However, sentencing the man to 10 years, Judge Kennedy said the man had been uncooperative throughout, had refused to apologise and, “no contrition is shown, I have no assurance whatsoever of his reform”.