VICTIM Impact Statements read to the court during the sentencing hearing outlined how the victims of O'Leary's crimes are still suffering emotionally because of their ordeals.
Ms Chrstine Keane, who was assaulted and robbed in Bride Street car park, said in her statement that 'I don't know what I felt. I went into shock and my body went numb. I was on my own and helpless. For months of nights after I would lie in bed with waves of emotion and trauma coming over my body. Sometimes during the day also.
'Ever since being attacked by this man with an axe I need someone with me all the time, wherever I go. Worst of al,l I feel sad and threatened in my own home. This attack has affected my whole life - physically, emotionally and mentally. My suffering continues indefinitely.'
Ms Betty O'Donovan's statement said she 'could feel the blood drain from me with fear' at the time of the robbery at Harcourt Bookmakers. 'When he threatened me with a hatchet I really thought he was going to hurt me. He really frightened and scared me. Because of his actions I became very nervous and jumpy on my own, frightened and suspicious of anyone with a hood over their head. He is responsible for destroying my happy go lucky self and becoming jumpy and nervous,' it continued. The statement of Ms Gayle Cousins told what she suffered both on the date of the robbery and Boylesports and in its aftermath.
' The door of the office burst open and a man entered looking very angry while carrying a hatchet and demanding that I hand over the money to him. The second I realised what was going on, I froze.
'I could hardly believe what was unfolding I felt threatened and feared that the man was going to seriously injure me. I remember standing in a state of disbelief once the man had left. I felt sick from fear and was unable to stay in work for the remainder of the day.
'I remember once I arrived home I sat in the kitchen chair, shocked, unable to think of anything other than what could have happened that day. That night and the nights that followed I found it extremely difficult to sleep. I felt anxious. My mind was racing and when I would eventually drift off to sleep I'd wake again, jumping from a nightmare having to lie their again for hours trying to get back to sleep.
' The incident has made me quite a nervous person. I don't like to be in the office alone anymore as it's always in the back of my mind that this could happen again. I even find that I avoid being on my own in my own home these days for feat that a similar incident may occur there,' she said.