Maghera iron bar attack on family - armed robber has jail term reduced by two years

Philip Convery who was attacked at his grandmothers home close to Maghera.
Philip Convery who was attacked at his grandmothers home close to Maghera.

A man convicted of an iron bar and pistol-butt attack on a family in their Maghera home is to have his jail sentence cut by two years, the Court of Appeal ruled on Tuesday.

Michael Mongan’s period behind bars for battering a pensioner and her teenage grandson during a botched robbery in Co Derry was reduced from 14 to 12 years.

Michael Mongan (21) at Derry Court on Monday.

Michael Mongan (21) at Derry Court on Monday.

Senior judges reached their decision after assessing whether the original prison term was manifestly excessive.

Mongan, 24, was found guilty of assaults on Theresa Convery, Philip Convery - then aged 16 - and her bank manager son Martin Convery.

A jury at Derry Crown Court also found him guilty by a majority verdict of attempting to steal £10,000 and with driving while disqualified and without insurance.

The victims were attacked at their home on the Mayogall Road min June 2012.

After giving the matter very careful consideration we propose to reduce the custodial element from 14 years to 12 years

Two men had burst in armed with a gun and iron bar shouting: “Give us the money”.

With a car and tyre business operated at the back of the premises, they believed thousands of pounds in cash had been left there.

One of the intruders was said to have threatened to take 70-year-old Theresa Convery with him before hitting her on the hips, arms and legs with an iron bar.

Philip tried to come to his grandmother’s rescue, only to be struck several times about the head and body with the iron bar.

The teenager, who had been revising for GCSE examinations at the time of the attack, sustained a fractured skull.

He underwent emergency surgery to remove a blood clot from the surface of his brain.

His uncle Martin also attempted to intervene and was hit both with the iron bar and with a firearm. He escaped and flagged down a passing motorist who alerted the police.

Earlier this year Mongan, formerly of White Rise in the Dunmurry area of Belfast, failed in an attempt to have his conviction overturned.

But his legal team pressed ahead with an appeal against the 14-year-sentence.

They argued that the trial judge wrongly classified the offences as a commercial robbery and mistakenly assessed Mongan as posing a significant risk of serious harm.

Delivering judgment today, Lord Justice Coghlin, sitting with Lord Chief Justice Sir Declan Morgan and Lord Justice Gillen, held the sentence was not wrong in principle.

However, he also set out how it was examined to see if it was manifestly excessive.

The judge said: “After giving the matter very careful consideration we propose to reduce the custodial element from 14 years to 12 years.”

Mongan’s period on licence after he gets out of jail will also be cut from five to three years, it was confirmed.

Lord Justice Coghlin added: “Accordingly, we shall allow the appeal to that extent.”