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19/09/2021

Offaly pensioner tells trial he was hit with shovel and had knife to throat during burglary

Offaly pensioner tells trial he was hit with shovel and had knife to throat during burglary

Two men are on trial at Tullamore Circuit Court

AN Offaly pensioner has told today (Thursday, July 1) of how he was awoken and attacked by two men with a shovel and a knife during a burglary.

John Sheerin said he went to bed in his home at Kinclare, Clara at about 2am on September 1, 2019 and then noticed his dog barking at about 5am.

Two men came into his bedroom and he was struck with a shovel on the legs and a knife was placed to his throat.

“They said they'd kill me if I didn't give them money,” he told a trial at Tullamore Circuit Court.

A jury heard he was then dragged from his bed in his pyjamas to the kitchen and €700 in €50 notes was taken from his wallet which was in a jacket on a chair.

Mr Sheerin said both men were masked and he couldn't see their faces but one was wearing a black jacket with white stripes on the sleeves.

He said after the men left he went to Clara garda station but it was closed and he then called to a neighbour's house and asked Paddy Scanlon to ring the gardai.

He said he had collected his pension on Friday and the incident happened on the Saturday night/Sunday morning.

Mr Sheerin said he received about “ten belts” of the shovel and photographs of broken skin on his leg were produced to the jury.

Dylan Coughlan, aged 21, 26 Armstrong Grove, Clara, and 34-year-old Wayne Dolan, Erry Mill Cottage, Frederick Street, Clara, both deny aggravated burglary on September 1, 2019 at Kinclare, Clara.

They also deny assaulting John Sheerin, causing him harm, making threats to kill or cause serious harm to Mr Sheerin, and producing articles.

Mr Coughlan and Mr Dolan also pleaded not guilty to assaulting Derek Tuite, causing him harm, at Railway View, Clara, on the same date.

Mr Coughlan further denies producing a bat on that occasion and Wayne Dolan denies producing a knife.

Derek Tuite gave evidence that Dylan Coughlan and Wayne Dolan had been having a few drinks with him in his home at 5 Railway View on the night of August 30, 2019 and they then left at about 1.30am or 2am, telling him to leave the door unlocked.

He said he locked the door and went to bed but woke later to find the two men surrounding him in his room.

Mr Tuite said they were shouting at him and asking him why he locked the door.

He said he was struck on the nose, causing it to bleed onto the bedclothes and a sharp object was put to his throat.

He did not know how they got into the house and he also said in evidence that they told him they had robbed someone and he saw about €300 in cash in €50 notes.

He also said he thought he overheard one of the men saying they hit the man they robbed with a shovel.

The trial of Mr Coughlan and Mr Dolan is continuing today before Judge Keenan Johnson and a jury of seven women and five men.

William Fennelly, BL (instructed by Offaly State Solicitor, Sandra Mahon), prosecuting, told the court on Tuesday he expects the trial to last up to six days.

Mr Coughlan is represented by Eileen O'Leary, SC, with Patrick O'Sullivan, BL (instructed by Patrick Martin, solicitor) and Mr Dolan is represented by Colm Smyth, SC, with Niall Storan, BL (instructed by Donal Farrelly, solicitor).

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