Gardai rush to scene, tensions high as locals chant 'sick rapist out'
Tensions remained high in a south-eastern town last night after multiple garda units, including armed officers, were sent to deal with a stand-off involving a notorious rapist.
Gardai rushed to the scene after reports that associates of sex attacker John Connors (36) brandished an iron bar and a chainsaw at a crowd of more than 100 people who had gathered outside a property in Enniscorthy, Co Wexford.
The incident happened at around 9.30pm on Monday when associates of Connors arrived to confront the crowd of local people who do not want him living in the area.
Connors and his former pal Patrick Moorehouse (33) were released from prison in June after serving 14-year jail sentences for the horrific rape of a young woman.
The two Wexford men forced their way into her house on August 31, 2006 and raped her while her young child was in an adjacent room.
Sources have revealed that Moorehouse "has been keeping his head down" after being released.
Connors, however, has been seen around his home town of Enniscorthy, as well as at locations in Co Laois.
"He certainly has shown no signs of shame and he has even been observed going door to door trying to sell perfume in the town," a source said last night.
"People, especially women and parents with kids, don't want this sex offender in the area and what happened on Monday night is a result of this.
"Despite his horrible crimes, Connors still has plenty of associates in the town and a large number of them arrived at the property when the crowd gathered outside where he had been staying in the Gimont estate.
"Things were very tense for a while, with people shouting 'Rapist out' and so on, with Connors' associates then telling them to 'f**k off'.
"Everything got more serious when two lads linked to Connors produced the iron bar and chainsaw.
"The chainsaw was not turned on and the items were not used to assault anyone.
"Very shortly after, gardai arrived in great numbers and eventually everyone was dispersed from the area and Connors was driven off in a van."
Gardai made no arrests on the night, but the situation has led to an increase in patrols around the "tense" town this week.
"The reality of the situation is that Connors is lawfully entitled to live in Enniscorthy after being released from prison," a senior source said last night.
"There is major concern about him, but he has not broken any laws so far."
Both Connors and Moorehouse remain under the supervision of the Probation Service, and strict supervisory conditions apply to their release for the next 10 years.
The pair failed in October 2011 to have their convictions and 14-year sentences quashed on appeal.
At their trial in December 2008, their victim recounted how the two men forced their way into her home.
They had called at her door asking if she wanted to buy a camcorder.
Her young child was in the living room when she was pushed into a bedroom and Moorehouse punched her.
She was pushed on to the bed and a piece of rope that was on the floor was wrapped around her neck.
Connors held the rope while Moorehouse raped her and then the men swapped places.
The court heard the mother dared not make much noise as she was conscious of her child in the living room, who was unaware of what was happening.
The men dressed and left after threatening her not to tell anybody what had happened.
They both later denied the rapes in court.