Limerick gang rapist expected to be freed soon

David Hurley

Reporter:

David Hurley

CONVICTED gang-rapist Thomas O’Neill is likely to be freed from Limerick Prison in the coming weeks.

CONVICTED gang-rapist Thomas O’Neill is likely to be freed from Limerick Prison in the coming weeks.

O’Neill, aged 26, of Lenihan Avenue, Prospect was sentenced to eighteen months imprisonment this Wednesday for threatening to burn the house of a Deirdre O’Donovan - a sister of Euromillions winner Doloras McNamara.

O’Neill, who was the gang-leader during an horrific gang-rape in Cratloe in 2004, had initially denied making the threat at Speaker’s Corner, Hyde Road on July 25, 2011.

However, at Limerick Circuit Court last month, he dramatically changed his plea as a second jury was being sworn in to hear the case, after legal difficulties arose with the first jury.

Another man - Dean Hehir, aged 28, with addresses at Raheen Square and Collins Avenue pleaded guilty to making threats to burn the home of Mrs O’Donovan’s daughter, Jennifer McCarthy.

Judge Carroll Moran was told Ms McCarthy was at home in her apartment with her children when she heard shouting outside.

Det Garda Niall Fitzgerald said when she looked out a balcony window she saw the defendants in a green coloured BMW outside shouting up at her.

Det Garda Fitzgerald said the pair were repeatedly calling Ms Fitzgerald and her family piranhas.

Dean Hehir then shouted he was going to burn her and her kids “out of it” and O’Neill, who was the driver of he car, said “I’m going to burn your mother out of it as well”.

Judge Carroll Moran sentenced Hehir to three years imprisonment but suspended the sentence for three years.

O’Neill was sentenced to three years imprisonment with the final 18 months suspended.

His sentence was back-dated to January 12, 2012.