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Thugs sentenced for 'barbaric' act of nailing man to floor in Limerick

Gerard Mackin
Gerard Mackin

Two Limerick men who pleaded guilty to a "depraved and barbaric" assault during which a 53-year old man was nailed to a kitchen floor have both been jailed for three years.

The victim, Dan Quilligan, resident of Rathkeale in County Limerick, told the Special Criminal Court that he "thought he was going to be killed".  

Gerard Mackin (33), a native of Northern Ireland with an address at Star Court, John Carey Park, Southill, Limerick and Patrick Hayes (52), Larch Court, Kennedy Park, Limerick, both admitted yesterday to assaulting Mr Quilligan, causing him harm, at 6, Larch Court, on September 14th, 2015.

It was during the second day of the men's trial their counsel told the court the two accused would be pleading guilty to, and could be re-arraigned on, the assault charge. 

The State later entered a nolle prosequi - a decision not to proceed - on a charge against both men of falsely imprisoning Mr Quilligan on the same date at the same address. 

Mr Justice Tony Hunt, presiding at the three-judge, non-jury court, described the assault as "most grievous".

He said that Mr Quilligan was "assaulted in a very depraved and barbaric way by the use of a nail-gun".

Inspector Padraig Burns summarized the facts of the case. He told prosecuting counsel Tara Burns SC that at the time of the offence Hayes was living in the house at Larch Court with his brother and another man.

Mr Quilligan arrived at the house in a white van driven by a friend, the court heard. They had been directed there by Hayes, who knew Mr Quilligan.

The two men came through the back garden into the kitchen. A group of men were waiting and Mr Quilligan and his friend were "immediately set upon".

Mr Quilligan was put in a chair in the middle of the kitchen and assaulted.

His right shoe was removed and a nail gun was used. His left foot was nailed to the floor.

The assailants then left the house. 

Mr Quilligan freed his left foot from the floor, got into his friend's van and went to the regional hospital.

The court heard that CCTV footage showed Mackin's car in the vicinity of Larch Court on the date and time of the assault. 

It was the prosecution case that the assault was pre-planned and a joint enterprise.

Hayes was formerly employed in the Defence Forces, from 1980 to 1986. He was discharged after a robbery and assault conviction.

Mackin has no previous convictions.

The court also heard a victim impact statement from Mr Quilligan. 

It said, "This has shattered my life. My life will never be the same. My legs are still in pain. There were holes in legs for weeks. This has caused me to drink heavily and has caused upset to my family. This has ruined my life and my family's life. I genuinely thought I was going to be killed that day and I'll never forget it."

Sentencing Mackin and Hayes, Mr Justice Hunt said that the maximum sentence for such an assault was five years. The court was therefore "faced with a relatively low limit" as regards a jail sentence. 

The men's co-accused, Mark Heffernan (32), Swallow Drive, John Carew Park, Limerick, has pleaded not guilty  to the assault. 

He has also denied falsely imprisoning Mr Quilligan at the same address on the same date. 

His trial resumes on Monday in front of Mr Justice Hunt, sitting with Judge John O'Hagan and Judge Ann Ryan.