Thursday 21 September 2017

Sisters terrified stalker will come after them again

Sisters Ailish (left) and Kylie Beirne arriving at Roscommon Circuit Court.
Sisters Ailish (left) and Kylie Beirne arriving at Roscommon Circuit Court.

Brian McDonald

TWO sisters broke down in court as they told how their lives had been made "a living hell" after being stalked and harassed by a man they barely know.

Kylie (25) and Ailish (21) Beirne, of Tober Elva, Castleplunkett, Castlerea, Co Roscommon, told Roscommon Circuit Court that they were in fear of their lives and terrified of what would happen once Alan Higgins was released from prison.

Higgins (26), of Ballymacurley, Castleplunkett, Castlerea, had pleaded guilty at a previous court sitting to two charges of harassing the two women on dates between November 2011 and February 2012.

Sergeant John Hynes told the court that Higgins had briefly attended the same second-level school as the two sisters.

There was a history of Higgins harassing Kylie Beirne.

"He seemed to be infatuated with her," Sgt Hynes said.

After a disco, he saw her get into a car with her friends and he threw a beer bottle, smashing a window of the car.

A letter he had written was subsequently found in a shop in Castlerea, in which he said that he wanted to bring her to a public park in the town and describing what he would like to do to her sexually.

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The letter contained a list of her friends and he threatened to kill them if they were seen in her company because she was his.

At Castlerea District Court in 2008, Higgins received a suspended prison sentence and was bound to the peace for two years after she had complained to gardai. In 2011 she got a message from him on Facebook and discovered that he had downloaded pictures of her to his Facebook page.

"She was in fear of her life at what Alan Higgins would do to her," Sgt Hynes said.

In November 2011 Ailish Beirne had received a Facebook message from Higgins, telling her she was pretty.

Shortly afterwards he sent a message telling her: "When I get a car, I'll stalk ye both."

In emotional victim-impact statements to the court, Kylie and Ailish Beirne said they had huge concerns about what would happen when Higgins was released from prison.

Kylie told the court: "He has made my life a living hell. He has threatened to get me again and to kick the face off my dad."

Ailish told Judge Tony Hunt: "I'm really scared of what he might do when he gets out."

Judge Hunt said there was absolutely no question of Higgins coming out of prison until something appropriate by way of treatment had taken place. He ordered a fresh psychiatric report – a thorough assessment – and a Probation and Welfare Service report to be prepared for the court in November.

Higgins was remanded in custody.

Irish Independent

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