An Englishman, who served time for the manslaughter of a New Age Traveller whose body was found in a slurry tank in Dunmanway in 2007, threatened a garda last month.
Jason Thomas pleaded guilty at Cork District Court to a charge of engaging in threatening behaviour at South Terrace, Cork, on December 7, 2020.
Sergeant John Kelleher said Thomas was shouting at gardaí and sticking up his middle finger at them. When the gardaí approached, he ran away, but then he returned and walked up to Garda Michael Costello.
“He put his face four inches from Garda Costello’s face and said, ‘what the f*** do you want?’
“He also said he was a convicted murderer and would find out where Garda Costello lived,” Sgt Kelleher said.
While Thomas referred to being a convicted murderer, it was clarified in court that he had a conviction for manslaughter, for which he got a nine-year jail term.
Defence solicitor Shane Collins-Daly said of last month’s incident that Thomas was pleading guilty to being threatening and being drunk and a danger at the time.
“He recalled nothing of the incident due to his extreme level of intoxication.
“He is horrified and ashamed to hear of what he said. He wrote a letter of apology to Garda Costello expressing his regret for his threats on the day,” Mr Collins-Daly said.
The accused, who is now 49, has been living in accommodation supported by Focus Ireland since his release from prison two years ago after serving the sentence for manslaughter.
The solicitor said that, apart from this public order incident last month, the defendant had been keeping his head down and staying out of trouble.
Judge Olann Kelleher said there was a good report before the court from Focus Ireland.
Before sentence was imposed, Mr Collins-Daly said: “Obviously, this is appalling. He wrote a letter of apology. He is in the court’s hands.”
Judge Olann Kelleher said the defendant did appear to be remorseful and expressed the hope that this incident last month was “just a blip.”
The judge said he would give the defendant one opportunity to prove himself and he imposed a three-month jail term, which he suspended on condition that the accused would keep the peace for the next two years.
Thomas, who is from Exeter in England, pleaded guilty to the manslaughter of Gary Bull on September 23, 2007, and was sentenced to nine years. Others were also sentenced for the parts they played in the crime.
Gardaí found Mr Bull’s body on October 11, 2007, at the bottom of a slurry pit on a farm in Dunmanway.
Three weeks earlier, a weekend-long birthday party had taken place at the house. Mr Bull died from blunt force trauma to the head following drunken arguments where evidence was given that the deceased had produced a chainsaw.