Nathan Killeen swore on his twin brother’s grave that he did not try to extort money from a man in Ballinacurra Weston, but three judges at the Special Criminal Court did not believe him and found him guilty of the offence.
The 21-year-old and his co-accused Niall Carey, 23, both from Hyde Road, pleaded not guilty before the non-jury court to trespassing at a house in Ballyclough Avenue with intent to commit extortion on July 24, 2010.
Mr Justice Paul Butler said the three-judge court was satisfied that the demand for money was made and that the two men had entered the house as trespassers. The pair were remanded in custody for sentencing on July 22.
“I swear on my twin brother’s grave that I went down to get hash from Buddha,” he told the gardai during an interview after his arrest, claiming that he and his co-accused were in the house for ten minutes, and that Carey spoke to ‘Buddha’ about money he was owed for a bracelet.
In the early hours of July 24 last year, Sean Ryan was awoken by a commotion downstairs at his home and when he went down he found two men, one of whom he recognised as Killeen, in an altercation with his son Jonathan.
Mr Ryan and his son forced the two men out of the house but they returned a short time later, gaining access through a window. They behaved aggressively and threatened Mr Ryan and his son and demanded €3,000 but this escalated to €10,000. Mr Ryan told the Special Criminal Court that he was forced to sit downstairs while Killeen went upstairs. Both men demanded €10,000 as they left the house. Mr Ryan made a complaint to the gardaí several days later and the men were arrested.
Mr Ryan said that one of the accused men got a meat-fork from the kitchen and had held Jonathan Ryan “up against the door with the fork”. He told the court that he feared for his son’s life and that Carey told him, “if you call the cops, we’ll torch the house.”
The men will be sentenced at the Special Criminal Court in Dublin on July 24. The investigation into the extortion case was lead by Detective Inspector Tom O’Connor of Roxboro Road Garda Station. Nathan Killeen’s twin brother Gavin died tragically in 2007.