'The distress he caused was epic': Tenant who made couple's life a 'living hell' sentenced in Cork 

'The distress he caused was epic': Tenant who made couple's life a 'living hell' sentenced in Cork 

Judge Ó Donnabháin repeated that he was singularly unimpressed by the attitude shown by the accused at an earlier hearing.

Epic damage and destruction was caused by a 67-year-old man who put a couple through a “living hell” when was a tenant in their Ballinspittle house and today he paid for the remainder of the €16,000 in damage which he caused.

The couple described the “living hell” they were put through by the ‘cruel’ behaviour of tenant, Denis O’Connor from Hillside, Cappagh, Kinsale, County Cork.

As well as causing an estimated €16,000 in criminal damage by sawing rafters out of the roof and other acts of destruction, he refused to pay rent for 16 months he was in the house.

The owner of the house, Audrey O’Mahony, believed O’Connor cut the rafters on the roof of their Ballinspittle house and caused other damage in an effort to make the property unsellable so they would be forced to sell it to him at a reduced price.

Judge Sean Ó Donnabháin said, “I am aware of the devastation and damage he caused to the householders who were very much at risk from Denis O’Connor.

“He was left in there in good faith with their consent and the damage he caused and the distress he caused to them was epic.” 

The judge said the owners had their suspicions about why O’Connor caused all this damage and the judge remarked that they were probably right about this.

Judge unimpressed

Judge Ó Donnabháin repeated that he was singularly unimpressed by the attitude shown by the accused at an earlier hearing. The judge said that between this attitude and the failure to come up with the full sum of compensation at the first sentencing hearing in February that the accused man wanted to go to jail.

However, noting the time spent in custody and the full amount of compensation now furnished, he was prepared to impose a two-year prison sentence, backdated to when O’Connor went into custody on February 4, the balance of which was suspended from today.

Ms O’Mahony testified at Cork Circuit Criminal Court that O’Connor said the 67-year-old put herself and her husband and family through a never-ending nightmare by what he did from the time he began renting their house from them in 2015.

“I believe that it was Denis O’Connor’s intention to get permanent possession of our house without paying us and that he is not the least bit sorry for what he has put us through. 

"His actions against us are inexcusable, cruel and downright wrong,” she said.

Guilty plea 

He pleaded guilty to causing criminal damage to the house by removing roof rafters and damaging floors and various fittings at the O’Mahonys’ property at Duneen, Ballinvredig, Ballinspittle, Co Cork between December 5 2015 and July 23 2018.

Garda Cormac Dineen told how the O’Mahonys moved from the single story cottage in Ballinspittle to their new home in Clonakilty and put the house up for rent and O’Connor, a handyman, began renting the property in 2015 and agreed to carry out some minor repair works with their consent.

However, the O’Mahonys gave him no permission to remove 27 roof rafters to use to put a V-shaped roof on a portable building and take up a hall floor and other actions which left the O’Mahonys with a bill for damage totalling €16,000.

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