A member of a Dublin-based organised crime gang who called to the wrong house in Cork and demanded a drugs debt whilst threatening to burn down the property if the homeowners didn't hand over €8,500 has been jailed for three years.
Jamie Gavigan, of Rowlagh Avenue in Clondalkin in Dublin, travelled to north Cork with another male on the October 18th, 2022.
He went to a house outside Mitchelstown where he demanded money with menaces from the homeowners. The couple in the house were completely innocent and did not have a drug debt of any kind.
Det Garda David Barry told Cork Circuit Criminal Court that Mr Gavigan, whom he called a “member of a Dublin-based organised crime gang” went to a house in a rural area in and started shouting in the door making aggressive threats.
He told the homeowners, who did not know him, that he would be back and would “burn down” their house.
The injured parties, who are a couple in their sixties, took two pictures. One of the car of the male who threatened them as he drove off at speed and another of the perpetrator himself. Mr Gavigan was subsequently identified through his car registration which was captured in the photographs.
Mr Gavigan (26) was arrested and charged with the offence six days later. He was remanded in custody on October 25th, 2022 and has been detained since. He applied for a bail in the High Court, but his application was unsuccessful.
Det Garda David Barry said that prior to his arrest Mr Gavigan lived at home with his mother and grandmother in Clondalkin. He has 27 previous convictions, including one conviction for possession of a firearm and ammunition. He also has convictions for the possession and possession for sale or supply of drugs.
Barrister for the defence, Donal O’Sullivan BL, said that his client had made no effort to conceal his identity and used his own car which subsequently exposed his involvement in the offence.
Mr Gavigan was tracked down because of the photographs taken by the homeowners. The garda investigation was also assisted by the fact the homeowners had a CCTV security system in place.
Mr O’Sullivan said that his client suffers from mental health problems and left school after his Junior Certificate. He said it was "inevitable" that his client got caught as "he made no effort to hide his face".
"He is not the Brain of Britain. He was sent down by others. He went down in his own car registered to him. I am not saying it was anything less than traumatic for the injured parties. Mr Gavigan would like to apologise to the two injured parties."
Mr Gavigan pleaded guilty to two charges, namely threatening to damage property and demanding €8,500 with menaces.
He wrote letters of apology to the victims in the case. Judge Helen Boyle noted that he told the couple that they had nothing to worry about and that he had no plan to ever return to Cork following his release from prison.
Judge Boyle said that the aggravating factors in the case included the threat to innocent people to in order to obtain a drug debt owed by others and the fact that the crime was premeditated.
Mr Gavigan was jailed for three-and-half-years, with the final six months suspended.