The court heard the occupier of one of the three homes they burgled died from a heart attack as he prepared to confront them

The Court of Appeal has almost doubled the sentences of two cousins for a burglary spree in Limerick, in what’s being seen as a landmark judgement.

The Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) successfully argued the three and a half year sentences handed down to Michael and David Casey were unduly lenient.

At around 2pm on August 27th 2015, John O’Donoghue returned to his home in Upper Doon, Co Limerick with his sister Christine after a day’s shopping.

They became suspicious there was somebody inside, and Mr O’Donoghue got a shovel from a shed.

He took up a position near the door of the house.

While preparing to confront them, he suffered a heart attack and died.

Michael Casey, with an address at a halting site in Southill in Limerick, and his cousin David Casey of Belcamp, Dublin 17 were sentenced the following December for three burglaries and an offence of criminal damage.

The Court of Appeal agreed they were unduly lenient for a number of reasons including the fact it was a carefully planned burglary spree.

While they didn't intend to harm Mr O’Donoghue, the court also said such a tragedy is foreseeable when you break into someone’s home.

Their sentences were increased to six years and four months.

The court also suggested headline sentences of between four and nine years for mid-range offences going forward, and up to 14 years for those at the highest range.