Last Halloween Gerard Dugan burst into a local home wearing a horror movie mask, stabbing and beating as he went. Now his victims speak

Mike Myers mask attack: couple brand five-year sentence ‘a joke’

By Gráinne McWilliams

A FIVE-YEAR jail sentence handed to a prolific criminal who broke into a Poleglass home and committed a crazed assault in front of young children – all while wearing a Halloween mask – has been branded “a joke” by the victims.

Anthony and Susan Larmour from Laurelbank spoke to the Andersonstown this week after Gerard Patrick Dugan, with an address in Upper Dunmurry Lane, was sentenced to  five years for aggravated burglary with intent to commit grievous bodily harm in relation to a horrifying attack on their home in September last year.

The incident was reported widely at the time as Dugan, with an address at Upper Dunmurry Lane, was wearing a terrifying mask made famous by the horror film ‘Halloween’  during the unprovoked and random attack during which he was armed with a knife and a crowbar.

Dugan had been staying at his girlfriend’s house – she lived next door to the Larmour family at the time of the shocking incident.

Dugan pleaded guilty to a string of other charges in relation to the incident when he appeared before Craigavon Magistrates Court earlier this week.

It’s the latest in a long line of crimes committed by the 24-year-old violent criminal who was found guilty in January 2007 of making threats to kill, possession of an offensive weapon in a public place and grievous bodily harm.

And just two months before he attacked the Larmour family home in Laurelbank, Dugan was found guilty of disorderly behaviour and possession of a Class B controlled drug, for which he was handed a three-month suspended sentence and a fine of £100.

Speaking to the Andersonstown News this week, Anthony and Susan said the sentence handed out to Dugan was “not good enough at all”.

“For hitting my daughter he got nine months, for hitting my wee lad with a hammer he got nine months,” said Anthony.

“For carrying an offensive weapon he got nine months, and for beating our front door down and beating me with a crowbar he got five years and will be out in half that. The justice system is wrong, it’s completely and utterly unfair and it’s not hard enough on people like that.”

Susan explained how the family and their two children were enjoying a quiet night at home when the horrifying incident began.

“We were upstairs in the kitchen and the children were down here in the living room watching TV and eating pizza when we heard hammering on the wall,” she said.

“We told the kids to be quiet but they said it was coming from next door. Then there was a hammer at the door so Anthony went downstairs. We got the kids out of the living room as we knew there was going to be trouble. The next thing I know I looked down the stairs from the kitchen and the door was knocked in, he [Dugan]  was standing there at my door with that mask on him and was constantly hitting Anthony with a crowbar.  It was terrible seeing that, I thought he [Anthony] was dead.”

After Dugan finished beating Anthony, he made his way upstairs to target the rest of the Larmour family.

“He knocked all the banisters in and the doors upstairs,” said Susan.

“He knocked my teenage daughter’s door through and she was screaming out the window for help.  I was in the kitchen, frozen with fear, looking for something to use against him to protect myself.  He came after me with a knife and tried to stab me.  Thank God the back door was opened and I managed to get out.  I was lucky.  I felt as if I was watching a horror film, that it wasn’t happening to me, like it was happening to someone else.”

Susan managed to escape through the rear of her home and run around the side on to the street.

“A neighbour came out and grabbed me and tried to bring me into her house as by then he was outside again,” explained Susan.

“But he spotted me and ran at me with the knife again.  He threatened neighbours too that he was going to kill them.  When the police arrived he ran back into his girlfriend’s house.”

Anthony said he was left with severe head fractures from the attack.

“My eye socket was completely smashed and a metal plate had to be put into it,” he said.

 

Hospital

“There are scars from the crowbar all over my head and marks on my chest from where he tried to stab me.  I signed myself out of hospital as soon as a could as I did not want to leave my family here on their own.”

To this day the couple still do not know why they were targeted by Dugan.

“He was always staying with a girl who started living next door a few months before this happened,” said Anthony.

“You would see him being left off in a van drunk from time to time.”

The couple say they and their teenage children’s lives have been badly affected since the attack took place over a year ago, and that they now take extra security measures at  their home. “Between psychologists, psychiatrists and therapists, living with drop-bars on the door, it’s been a living hell,” said Anthony.

“Our daughter [who’s 16] goes to see a special counsellor in school, but she does not talk about what happened.  She’s a completely different girl.  Our son [who’s 15] was never in trouble in his life and since then he’s been brought back to our house by police twice.

“He said in court he was on vodka jellies at the time.  He said his father was dying and that sent him on the path he was on.

“My mother was shot dead in front of me when I was a child [Sadie Larmour, who was shot by the UVF at her Rodney Drive home in October 1979] and I never went out and attacked people like that.”

The family plan to go on holiday to get away from Belfast over the upcoming Halloween period as they cannot face the thought of masked ‘Trick or Treat’ callers coming to their door.

“There’s no way we could answer the door to anyone in a mask,” said Susan.

“He is a real threat to society.  I saw the way he acted, he’ll do it again when he gets out,” she added.

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