Man 'obsessed' with Cork woman jailed for attempting to break into her house and rape her

Man 'obsessed' with Cork woman jailed for attempting to break into her house and rape her

James Steele of Reavilleen, Roscarberry, County Cork, was sentenced to seven years with the last two years suspended today at Cork Circuit Criminal Court. Pic Cork Courts Limited

A 52-year-old man became obsessed with a woman and went on to harass and threaten to rape her but he was caught in a garda surveillance operation as he was about to break into her home to carry out his threats.

James Steele of Reavilleen, Roscarberry, County Cork, was sentenced to seven years with the last two years suspended today at Cork Circuit Criminal Court.

Steele apologised to the victim Una Ring. He pleaded guilty to attempting to break in to commit rape at her home in Youghal where she lives with her adult son and daughter.

Defence senior counsel Tom Creed said of the accused man, “He could only put it down to obsession.”

Steele had left black envelopes with letters on the windscreen of her car on earlier occasions, where he had set out in horrific detail his threats to rape her.

On another occasion he painted the four tyres of her car pink.

Sergeant John Sharkey said Garda James Heffernan was on surveillance duty in the housing estate in the early hours of last July 27 when he saw the accused arriving in the area, hiding behind a parked van and then walking towards the victim’s house.

He was masked with a hat and snood. He had orange rope and duct tape in his pockets. He had a metal crowbar. He had a dildo or prosthetic penis strapped to himself inside his pants.

Judge Seán Ó Donnabháin described the crime as dramatic and horrific as he jailed Steele and ordered him to have no contact of any kind with the victim and her family, “in effect, ever again.”

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