Friday 24 November 2017

'John Doe' illegally took over home of dead cleric, court told

Greg Harkin

A MAN known to the courts only as 'John Doe' has illegally occupied the retirement home of a dead Church of Ireland minister, a court has heard.

When the Very Rev Samuel Reede passed away at the age of 86 in October 2010, the Anglican community in east Donegal was devastated. The cleric, known as Dean Sam, had served the community for 50 years.

In his will, Dean Sam left his small retirement cottage in the townland of Rooskey, 2km from Newtowncunningham, to his brother Charles. And in January this year estate agents began the process of selling the property, with Charles deeming that all proceeds should go to local charities in Co Donegal.

TRESPASSING

Letterkenny Circuit Civil Court heard, however, that on February 6 this year 'for sale' signs were removed from the property. Two weeks later, said barrister Fiona Crawford acting for Charles Reede, an estate agent found the locks had been changed. A sign stating "no trespassing" had been placed in the window.

Ms Crawford won an order for vacant possession of the lands and bungalow and an injunction against 'John Doe'.

At the latest hearing in Letterkenny, Judge John O'Hagan deemed the numerous notices given to John Doe were valid. He held 'John Doe' in contempt of court and ordered him to leave Dean Sam's home.

Who exactly 'John Doe' is remains a mystery. He has never put in an appearance before any of the court proceedings. Based on just one description given in court, John Doe is possibly English.

Judge O'Hagan has ordered the arrest of the mystery man and told gardai to bring him before his court in Letterkenny on July 29.

Irish Independent

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