Sunday 11 December 2016

Intruder on grounds of U2 drummer Larry Mullen's home threatened to infect gardai with HIV, court told

Andrew Phelan

Published 08/05/2015 | 18:32

Larry Mullen of U2
Larry Mullen of U2

AN INTRUDER on the grounds of U2 drummer Larry Mullen’s home came out of bushes nearby brandishing a golf club, leaving gardai in fear that he would use it as a weapon against them, a court heard.

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Gerard O’Neill (31) was found guilty of trespassing, having the club as a weapon and resisting arrest, but a judge has yet to rule on another allegation that he threatened to kill or harm gardai in the incident outside Mullen’s house in Howth.

Dublin District Court was told O’Neill allegedly “frothed at the mouth” as he told officers he would bite them and infect them “with HIV.”

Judge Ann Ryan deferred a decision on the threat to kill or harm charge, and adjourned sentencing on the others.

Mr O’Neill, of Orchid House, James Street, Dublin 8, was charged with trespassing at Claremont Lodge, Claremont Road, Howth; possessing a golf club with intent to cause injury or to intimidate two gardai, and resisting arrest. He was also charged with threatening to kill or cause serious harm to Gardai Stephen Donnelly and Aisling O’Neill.

Security guard Dan Suhan said he was at his hut at around 6am on October 19 2014, watching the CCTV monitor when he saw the accused coming in and out of bushes several times. A motion sensor beeped.

There was a sign up saying it was private property and trespassers would be prosecuted. A woman was there as well, and Mr Suhan went out and called but nobody answered.

He was concerned property would be damaged or a fire started and called the gardai.

Garda Stephen Donnelly said he and Garda Aisling O’Neill found the accused’s shopping bags outside the gate and O’Neill came out of bushes on the public part of the road.

He was holding a golf club aloft in his right hand and Garda Donnelly shouted at him to drop it several times but he did not respond.

“I was in fear he would use it as a weapon against me and me colleague,” the garda said.

The accused eventually did drop it and was arrested but his partner was also there and when she too was arrested, he became violent.

The defendant threatened to kill them, said “I have HIV” and threatened to bite them and infect them, Garda Donnelly alleged.

They restrained him against a wall, keeping his face away from them as he struggled. Two more gardai came to assist in the arrest.

Garda O’Neill said: “I was afraid he was going to use it, at one stage he was looking me straight in the eye while holding the golf club straight in front of me, raised over his head.”

She also alleged the accused frothed at the mouth and threatened to bite them and infect them.

She did not believe he was under the influence of any intoxicant.

“I believe it was sheer anger,” she said.

Judge Ryan found the facts proved on all counts except the threat to kill or cause harm charge, which she adjourned for legal submissions. The court heard O’Neill, who had 55 previous convictions had been under a previous suspended sentence and the judge referred that case to another court for consideration of the activation of that jail term.

The accused was remanded in custody.

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