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Farmageddon Elderly mum's home wrecked after son drove JCB into it so she couldn't stay there

The Sunday World is publishing the images as Morrissey's brother, Tom, a former Clare footballer, blasted a jury's decision to find his brother not guilty of criminal damage.

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Bathroom in ruins

Bathroom in ruins

Bathroom in ruins

These shocking images show the scale of the damage caused by farmer John Morrissey to his mother Mary's home.

The pictures were taken the day after Morrissey drove a rented JCB through the front entrance of the rural cottage and levelled a garage at the rear of the house, causing damage estimated at more than €55,000.

The Sunday World is publishing the images as Morrissey's brother, Tom, a former Clare footballer, blasted a jury's decision to find his brother not guilty of criminal damage.

"Just look at the damage in these ­pictures," Tom said. "I just can't understand how there can be any lawful excuse for causing damage like that to your own mother's home.

"As far as I'm concerned there's no justice in that," he added.

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Ex-footballer Tom

Ex-footballer Tom

Ex-footballer Tom

Tom told the Sunday World, that their ailing mother Mary was being minded round the clock in her home, by nine of her children working on a rota, with the help of home-care assistants.

Mary was not in the house when John drove the JCB into it, as she was in a respite facility at the time.

On Thursday, John (53), who admitted causing the damage in December 2019, walked free from Ennis District Court after a jury took just over 30 minutes to find him not guilty of the offence of ­criminal damage.

He had spent a year in the Midlands Prison awaiting trial after declining to seek bail on the charge of causing criminal damage with a JCB to the home of his mother, Mary at Alva, Cooraclare, West Clare, on December 13 2019.

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John Morrissey spent a year in jail after refusing to seek bail.

John Morrissey spent a year in jail after refusing to seek bail.

John Morrissey spent a year in jail after refusing to seek bail.

Mary was suffering with dementia when he damaged the home, the court heard.

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Although John did not dispute the fact that he caused the damage, defence counsel Pat Whyms BL said he did it so that his mother would get 24-hour care, as she would no longer be able to live in the home.

"In his own mind," said Mr Whyms, "John Morrissey was acting to protect his mother who he adored and cared for."

The lawyer told the jury that people have a "lawful excuse to damage property if you are protecting someone else".

He stated: "It is immaterial if the belief is justified or not, only if it is sincerely held."

But a distraught Tom Morrissey, who was living with Mary in the house, said he utterly disagreed with the jury's decision to accept this defence.

"I honestly could not believe that the jury came back and found him not guilty," Tom told the Sunday World.

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After the house the garage at the rear of the house was rammed.

After the house the garage at the rear of the house was rammed.

After the house the garage at the rear of the house was rammed.

"It's disgraceful, that's all I can say, I found it disgraceful. He's done what he's done. He came in here with a JCB and pushed in all the front of the house.

"How could a jury say there is a lawful excuse for that?

"He knocked it down because he didn't want her here at home.

"He reckoned we weren't caring for her.

"That's what he said and that's why he got away with it.

"But I was living here with her and I was caring for her.

"And we (my brothers and sisters and I) had a rota and we were looking after her."

Another sibling, who helped Tom care for Mary and who asked not be named, said the family had been given advice by healthcare workers that their mother was not yet at a stage in the illness where nursing home care was the best option for her.

Mary died in May of last year, six months after the incident involving John and the JCB.

The family member who spoke to the Sunday World acknowledged that on one occasion, prior to the 24-hour care being ­introduced for Mary at home, she had been discovered "wandering back the road".

And the sibling said: "Once 24-hour care was set up, there was one more occasion when she walked back the road from the house but the home help attendant was with her.

"We had the rota in place and there were nine of us on it.

"We have two brothers abroad in the UK and in America but when they came home they would also take their turn.

"They weren't on the rota generally but when they came home they helped out.

"The court heard of the care my mother was receiving, in conjunction with the healthcare professionals.

"Unfortunately, that part didn't make it into the story in the papers.

"We had been in contact with all the healthcare professionals. The Alzheimer Society were in doing hours with her, the GP, the public health nurse and the geriatric consultant for the county.

"John's defence was only his opinion of her care. There was no proof, no back-up of any neglect or ill treatment.

"In fact, it was quite the opposite, we loved our mother dearly

"Shortly before all this happened, I had a meeting with the public health nurse and she agreed mum was not yet ready to be put in a nursing home.

"We had discussed the Fair Deal scheme but the public health nurse agreed mum wasn't ready for that. She wouldn't have been ready to accept that.

"When in respite she often asked to come home and we, on occasion, brought her home before the two weeks were up.

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Bricks, mortar and glass on the site of the devastation.

Bricks, mortar and glass on the site of the devastation.

Bricks, mortar and glass on the site of the devastation.

"She was not ready for nursing home care 24/7, 365 days a year.

"She would not have accepted it and we wanted to do whatever we could to keep her happy, which was caring for her at home. We took good care of her and are distraught at any suggestion otherwise

"We haven't been able to grieve for our mother since her death because this trial kept being put back.

"But it's over now and we have to be ­allowed to grieve for our mother.

"And, I would ask all those faceless keyboard warriors to please not comment on something they know nothing about."

John Morrissey was not at home when the Sunday World called to his farmhouse in Clonreddan, Cooraclare on Friday.

Our reporter left contact details but no contact was made prior to going to print.

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