Thursday 18 December 2014

Man who posted 'vile filth' about ex-girlfriend on the internet avoids jail term

John Fallon

Published 20/03/2014 | 02:30

Paul Monaghan pictured arriving at Roscommon Court. Photo: David Walsh
Paul Monaghan pictured arriving at Roscommon Court. Photo: David Walsh

A MAN who destroyed an ex-girlfriend's life by posting "vile, repulsive filth" about her on a website seven years after she ended their brief relationship has avoided a jail term.

But Paul Monaghan, from Cartron, Kilrooskey, Co Roscommon, was warned that he will do jail time if he steps out of line again.

Judge Tony Hunt imposed a four-year suspended sentence on Monaghan. The 34-year-old, who works with the Leitrim Development Company, faced a maximum seven-year sentence on the harassment charge.

A childcare worker told a previous sitting of Roscommon Circuit Criminal Court last week that her life had been ruined by Monaghan, who she had gone out with for a couple of months seven years ago.

The woman said her life fell to pieces after she discovered explicit items about her on a website which suggested she was offering sexual favours.

The judge said that he was concerned that Monaghan could not offer any explanation for his behaviour. He had made a token offer of €10,000 but he it was "striking" that Monaghan could not offer any reason for the "disgusting" items posted on the website.

He said the internet was very useful in many ways but that it was also "a home for the bitter and twisted, anonymous and semi-literate" to carry out offences.

He said that Monaghan was guilty of "a vile character assassination carried out in a nasty cowardly way under the cloak of anonymity", and that he had "spewed out vile, repulsive filth" to a person he had known briefly in the past.

Monaghan's father is a retired garda and his brother John – a serving garda in Dublin – gave character witness evidence. Monaghan had no previous convictions.

SUSPENDED

The judge sentenced Monaghan to four years in prison but suspended it for four years and ordered him to remain under the direction of the Probation and Welfare Service.

"I will give you some free advice," the judge said to Monaghan. "Darken the door of this court under any circumstances again, or if there is the slightest peep out of you, and I will activate every day of that sentence."

In evidence the victim had told the court that her full name and address were posted on the website and that her friends began to shun her. The disgusting messages were posted over an eight-month period in 2011 before she became aware of them.

A garda investigation found that the messages had been posted by Monaghan from an IP address at the house where he lived with his girlfriend in Carrick-on-Shannon in Co Leitrim.

The victim, who said she had no contact since she broke it off with Monaghan seven years earlier because she found him domineering, said the crime had a massive impact on her life.

She had no idea who had posted the items on the website and had no reason to suspect Monaghan. She was shocked to discover it was him.

The website items suggested she was inviting men to get in touch with her for sex. Some men then posted explicit messages of what they would like to do to her. In one item it was suggested her sister would also like to get involved.

The victim told the judge that she had gone from being "a career woman to being a broken woman".

Irish Independent

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