TWO men who threatened a Caherconlish building contractor that they were going to bomb his home if he failed to hand over €40,000 over a sour property deal, have avoided a prison sentence at Limerick Circuit Court.
Shane Lennon, 36, with an address at Carrigeen, Annacotty, and Joseph Daly, 56, of Salmon Weir, Annacotty, admitted demanding €40,000 from a man and threatening to bomb his house if he did not do so.
Daly had paid the victim a £40,000 deposit on four houses in 2000 and 2001, but had difficulty closing the deal. He sought the help of Lennon, who in turn arranged for an unnamed man whom he met in a pub to ring the builder in a threatening manner.
Det Garda Pardaig O’Dywer, Roxboro Road station, told the court that the injured party, Pat O’Dea was a building contractor who was building 34 homes in the village in 2000/2001. He said Daly placed a deposit of £40,000 (punts) to buy four semi-detached houses but did not close the deal.
Therefore the deposit was forfeited and the houses were sold to other parties. On January 16, 2002, O’Dea received a letter on behalf of Daly looking for the refund of his deposit, which he referred to his solicitors. However, he heard nothing further until December 4, 2010 at 11.08pm when he received a phone call from a private number.
He answered and a male with a Dublin accent said he owed a debt of £40k and that he better “f**king pay it”
The caller went on to say he knew where he O’Dea lived and where his kids went to school. The same person left a voice message on his phone sometime later during which he threatened to bomb the house if the money was not paid.
“I don’t care if it’s a day, a week, a month...you’ll pay,” threatened the caller.
During searches of the Lennon’s home in December 2010 a silver Nokia mobile phone, which was used to make some of the calls, was found. Initially Daly said he did not know anything about the threats but he too made admissions later.
Lennon told gardai that he had been offered a free holiday in Spain by Daly if he could get him his money back. Lennon, who went on the holiday, contacted some “undesirable persons” who made the calls but it has not been established who made the phone calls to Mr O’Dea. Det Garda O’Dwyer said Lennon had “orchestrated the making of the calls at the request of Joe Daly”.
Counsel for the defence, Anthony Salmon, said Lennon “deeply regrets what occurred” and is acutely aware of the fear and mental disturbance he brought to Mr O’Dea. However, he insisted that Lennon was “not the prime instiller of terror”.
“Fortunately it didn’t go beyond phone-calls...there was no human contact or damage done. It didn’t escalate,” said Mr Salmon.
Barrister Andrew Sexton said Daly has had to “hold his head how amongst his own people”, and offers his unreserved apology.
The court heard the injured party found the whole experience “extremely traumatic” and that he feared for the lives of his wife and children as he believed the caller had connections to crime gangs in Dublin.
Judge Carroll Moran said the victim had “lanced the boil” by going to the gardai immediately.
Both received a two year sentence, suspended for two years on their own good behaviour.