Courts

Thursday 24 July 2014

Sisters 'will be at risk' if stalker is not treated

Brian McDonald

Published 21/03/2014|02:30

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Alan Higgins being escorted from Roscommon court. Photo: David Walsh
Alan Higgins being escorted from Roscommon court. Photo: David Walsh

A MAN who stalked two sisters, leaving them in fear of their lives, is now being assessed at the Central Mental Hospital.

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Judge Tony Hunt has warned that the young women would run the risk of a recurrence of their ordeal if Alan Higgins (26) did not receive appropriate treatment.

Higgins, of Ballymacurley, Castleplunkett, Castlerea, Co Roscommon, has admitted two charges of harassing Kylie (25) and Ailish (21) Beirne, of Tober Elva, Castleplunket, Castlerea, Co Roscommon, on dates between November 2011 and February 2012.

A previous sitting of Roscommon Circuit Criminal Court heard that Higgins had briefly attended the same second-level school as the two sisters.

He began to harass Kylie, and took pictures of her in her school uniform without her consent.

He sent them along with obscene pictures – not of her – to her home. He seemed to be infatuated with her, the court heard.

A graphic letter Higgins had written was subsequently found in a shop in Castlerea.

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".

The court heard that Kylie "was in fear of her life" at what Higgins would do to her.

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

Shortly afterwards he sent another message, telling her that he had her and her sister's pictures and added: "When I get a car, I'll stalk ye both."

Ailish had to be hospitalised due to the stress and fear, the court heard.

Sergeant John Hynes told the court that at no stage did he think that Higgins understood the damage he had done to the two young women.

RELEASE

Judge Hunt said that he could not sanction the release of Higgins until arrangements were put in place to bring matters to an end.

He was told that Higgins was now being assessed at the Central Mental Hospital in Dublin.

He proposed adjourning the finalisation of a sentence until the May sitting of the court.

"It's a fluid situation. If he continues to receive treatment it can go back to July if necessary," the judge said.

Irish Independent

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