Saturday 24 March 2018

Rapist who made threat to €115m winner's sister let out on bail

Thomas O'Neill
Thomas O'Neill

Barry Duggan

A NOTORIOUS gang rapist who threatened to burn the home of the sister of Euromillions winner Dolores McNamara has been allowed out of jail for Christmas by a judge.

Thomas O'Neill (24) – who led a horrific gang rape in Cratloe Woods, Co Clare, in 2004 – will be freed from prison next week for a fortnight.

O'Neill, with an address at the Meadows, Murroe, Co Limerick, admitted in Limerick Circuit Criminal Court yesterday to telling Jennifer McCarthy that he would burn her mother – Deirdre O'Donovan – from her home on July 25, 2011.

Deirdre O'Donovan is the sister of Dolores McNamara who won €115m in the Euromillions jackpot in 2005.

O'Neill and co-accused Dean Hehir (26), of Collins Avenue, Ballinacurra-Weston, Limerick, were both due to stand trial earlier this week.

But Hehir admitted the offence before proceedings were due to start on Wednesday. O'Neill's trial later collapsed after Ms McCarthy told the jury of Hehir's guilty plea.

A fresh trial was scheduled but O'Neill admitted the offence before it began.

Previously, Ms McCarthy told the court Hehir and O'Neill were parked in a BMW alongside her home in Limerick.

Ms McCarthy, who was watching her children, said she could hear them "roaring up" at her and calling her family "piranhas".

She told the court: "We are the only ones in Limerick called piranhas." She said Dean Hehir had shouted: "I'm going to burn you and your kids out of it," while O'Neill shouted: "I'm going to burn your mother out of it".

Ms McCarthy said her family were terrified as her father had burnt to death.

The trial stopped after she revealed that Hehir, pleaded guilty to his crime on Wednesday.

O'Neill's counsel, Brian McInerney, successfully applied for Christmas bail for O'Neill.

Judge Carroll Moran agreed to allow the accused to be released between December 21 and January 2.


O'Neill, who has 36 previous convictions, must reside at Lenihan Avenue in Limerick, observe a curfew from 9pm-8am and sign on at Roxboro garda station.

O'Neill will be sentenced with Hehir next month.

Aged 15, O'Neill was involved with four others in the savage gang rape of a woman and the assault of her boyfriend in Cratloe Woods in January 2004.

He was given a 10-year-sentence in 2005 after being described as the 'ringleader'.

Jennifer McCarthy is the sister of Anthony 'Noddy' McCarthy – one of five men who murdered crime boss Kieran Keane in 2003.

Another brother, Christopher McCarthy is serving a seven-and-a-half prison for demanding money with menaces.

The McCarthy's are first cousins of criminal brothers Wayne, John, Dessie and Ger Dundon who are all currently behind bars.

Irish Independent

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