Fanning the flames | 

Family of man who fire-bombed house with kids inside boast he will ‘fly’ through jail

“They can lock dem locks but they can’t stop the clocks. Never put a good man down love u (sic)”

Martin Mongans emerges from a prison van

Suellen Keenan encouraged Mongans to carry out the attack

Martin Mongans

Eamon DillonSunday World

Associates of a man jailed for fire-bombing a house in which eight children were asleep have boasted how he will “fly” through his sentence.

Martin Mongans was handed a jail term of four years and ten months last week for his part in an attack on a house in Ennis, Co Clare, in which petrol bombs and a shotgun were used by three masked men.

The house owner, John O’Loughlin, said his family was terrorised by the incident.

The gang tried to pull a Perspex shield off a window and to use a petrol bomb on the property.

O’Loughlin’s seven kids, his 17-year-old brother and his wife, Kelly-Anne, were asleep in the house when the midnight attack was launched in 2021.

Despite being found guilty of what Judge Francis Comerford described as “a very serious offence”, Mongans’ relatives posted messages of support for the thug on social media.

“They can lock dem locks but they can’t stop the clocks. Never put a good man down love u [sic],” read one message.

Suellen Keenan encouraged Mongans to carry out the attack

Another suggested the prison term was light and that Mongans would have no trouble dealing with it: “Tg [thank God] he’s such a big strong person with a big heart, he will fly threw it (sic).”

“Won’t cost him a thought, u will be out in no time plz God. U are not locked up forever (sic).”

A photo of Mongans smiling as he emerged from a prison van at Ennis Circuit Court last week was also posted online.

After last week’s hearings, a number of people were heard shouting at the O’Loughlins, who had been in court for the proceedings.

Mongans’ sister-in-law Suellen Keenan got a fully suspended 15-month sentence this week for sending him a series of WhatsApp messages encouraging him to carry out the attack.

At her sentence hearing, the court was told that she knew in advance the attack was going to happen and that a shotgun would be used.

Judge Comerford said he had to take into account various factors including her “psychological dependence” on Mongans, with whom she had a child.

She was described in court as single mother of two children who lived an isolated existence

In his victim impact statement read out in court, John O’Loughlin said: “Since this night I don’t feel safe anymore and I am in fear for my life and my family’s life.”

His wife Kelly-Anne said in her statement that this attack occurred on a school night “and I believed this man tried to kill us”.

“My family is traumatised over what he done (sic),” John told the Sunday World after the case.

He said he was luckily he could put out the flames before they took hold of the property.

“If I didn’t have the fire extinguisher it would have taken up.

“My kids were petrified after it. One of them said, ‘Dad, is this man going to come back to kill us?’”

“He obviously just wanted to burn us out of it and shoot us. He threw petrol bombs, he left off a firearm twice,” he said.

Imposing sentence, Judge Comerford said Mongans’ “planned and premeditated attack on a house full of children” merited a heavy prison sentence in order to deter others carrying out such attacks.

While no one suffered any physical injuries from the attack, the incident “did put eight children at risk”, the judge added.

Martin Mongans

In evidence, Det Sgt John Casey told the sentencing hearing that the ages of the O’Loughlin children at the time of the attack on November 22, 2021 were 11, nine, seven, six, five, three and a baby.

All the children were asleep and their mother Kelly-Anne was upstairs while Mr O’Loughlin was downstairs watching Netflix.

Shortly after midnight a number of individuals pulled up outside and launched their attack on the house, the detective told the court.

John O’Loughlin saw Martin Mongans outside the house holding a pick-axe and swiping at the front door and glass panel.

Mr O’Loughlin knew Mongans for a number of years and saw him throw a petrol bomb towards the house, hitting a living room and partially igniting a roller shutter.

Mongans was seen returning to a car where he got a shotgun and fired a shot towards the house.

Det Casey said Mongans, who has 14 previous convictions, was accompanied by two other individuals, and all three fled the scene.

The incident lasted a minute and a half and the cost of the damage to the house amounted to €5,000, while two other unused petrol bombs were found at the scene.

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