O'Reilly's lover gets €75,000 after private letters printed
THE girlfriend of wife killer Joe O'Reilly will receive an estimated €75,000 settlement after 'The Sun' published her letters to him in jail.
The breach of privacy action by Nikki Pelley has been settled after the letters were published on March 19 and March 21, 2011.
Ms Pelley had sought an injunction, damages and declarations against the newspaper.
After yesterday's settlement it is understood Ms Pelley is to receive a payment of €75,000 along with her costs and that 'The Sun' has promised not to publish any of her private letters, emails or other communications in the future.
The articles related to two letters between the couple which were sent after he began serving a life sentence in 2007 for the murder of his wife Rachel in 2004.
Yesterday Hugh Mohan, for Ms Pelley, said the entire action had been settled on terms as agreed between Ms Pelley and the tabloid newspaper, with an order for his client's High Court costs.
The Irish Prison Service confirmed last night that officials held an investigation into the apparent leaking of private correspondence between Ms Pelley and O'Reilly.
The investigation could not determine the source of the leak or whether it had originated within the prison system.
A separate investigation was carried out by the Data Protection Commissioner. This concluded that the commissioner was satisfied with the procedures adopted by the Prison Service.
Ms Pelley said copies of her letters were reproduced by the paper without her knowledge or consent. They were accompanied by articles and photographs which were taken and published without her consent.
These publications were a gross and deliberate violation of her right to privacy and she was deeply shocked by them. It caused her, and continues to cause her, extreme distress and humiliation, she said.
She claimed her right to communicate and correspond freely had been denied to her, due to fears that her private correspondence would be published in a newspaper.
She sought an injunction restraining the paper from publishing any further such information.
She also asked the court for an order removing such information from 'The Sun's' website or internet archive.
O'Reilly was convicted of murdering Rachel at their home in The Naul, north Co Dublin, in October, 2004, after one of the most dramatic murder trials in the history of the State.
During the 20-day trial, O'Reilly denied any involvement in the murder.