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Convicted Limerick rapist granted ‘Christmas bail’

Thomas O'Neill

Thomas O'Neill

  • by David Hurley
 

CONVICTED gang rapist Thomas O’Neill is to be freed from prison for Christmas after he was granted conditional bail.

O’Neill, aged 25, who has addresses at Lenihan Avenue, Prospect and Rosfearna, Murroe was granted bail after he admitted 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, 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 has pleaded guilty to making threats to burn the home of Mrs O’Donovan’s daughter, Jennifer McCarthy.

Prior to O’Neil’s guilty plea, McCarthy told the court she was at home in her apartment with her children when she heard shouting outside.

She said she looked out a balcony window and saw the defendants in a green coloured BMW outside shouting up at her. “They were roaring up calling us piranhas. I was terrified of my life and my children were screaming,” she said.

The witness claimed Dean Hehir said he was going to burn her and her kids “out of it” and that O’Neill said “I’m going to burn your mother out of it as well”.

Ms McCarthy said she was terrified as her father had died in a fire just a few days earlier.

Both O’Neill and Hehir will be sentenced on January 22, next.

Judge Carroll Moran granted an application for “Christmas bail” for O’Neill after Brian McInerney BL said his client was willing to abide by a number of strict conditions.

The judge ordered that O’Neill be released from custody at noon on December 21, next and that he must return to Limerick Prison before midday on January 2, 2013.

He must reside at his address at Lenihan Avenue and observe a curfew between 9pm and 8am.

 
 
 

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