Thursday 19 April 2018

Monster who tortured parents was a 'foaming-at-mouth peeping Tom'

Eimear Ni Bhraonain

INSIDE an immaculately painted chalet, John Trimble Jnr terrorised his parents.

And while he had previously been convicted of stalking an elderly woman, shocked locals in Bolart, Co Offaly yesterday said they had never suspected him of inflicting a much worse cruelty on his own flesh and blood.

Neighbours last night expressed relief that he was behind bars, stating that he "stared at women" sometimes "frothing from the mouth like an animal".

He was jailed for 15 years on Thursday at Tullamore Circuit Court in Co Offaly after pleading guilty to harassing, endangering, assaulting and falsely imprisoning his elderly parents, John Snr (71) and Elizabeth (70), for five-and-a-half months.

Gardai yesterday confirmed that Trimble had a previous conviction for stalking an elderly woman in 2000.

Trimble had held his parents captive in shocking circumstances at the two-bedroom chalet. He put a padlock on the front gate of the property and two large mounds of clay in the way to keep gardai and HSE staff out and to obstruct the view.

But he was found out when his sister, Jacqueline, contacted a local GP, who alerted the HSE about her concerns. She had been threatened by her brother and warned to "stay away" from her parents' home.

Trimble moved to the Bolart site after convincing his parents to leave their family home near Geashill, some miles away, 10 years ago. They lived with their son in a mobile home on the site before he built the chalet to the rear of the property.

He had bragged to neighbours that he was forcing his elderly parents to sign over their land to him.

Trimble was free to torture John Snr and Elizabeth out of the direct view of other residents. Trees obscure the view of the back of the house where Elizabeth was forced to walk naked to a shed every morning to do the laundry.

He would wake his mother by shouting at her from 6am. He would then force her to take a freezing cold shower and make her "drip dry" in the bathroom while the back door was open. Elizabeth was forbidden from using a towel and was not allowed to dress.

The woman, who suffered from diabetes, was afraid to run away because she believed her son would harm her sick husband, who had prostate cancer.

Inside the chalet, a large television remains in the sitting room -- despite the fact that Trimble banned his parents from watching the set.

The bedroom where he held his mother and father as prisoners looks cramped and there is barely enough space for their double bed.

The kitchen, where he forced his naked mother to kneel as she washed every inch of the floor, looks tidy and modern with a microwave and other appliances.

In court his parents thanked the HSE staff for "saving their lives" and added "John is still a threat to us".

Trimble, described as a "sadistic monster" by Judge Anthony Kennedy, was building a house for himself in front of the chalet which he had turned into a "concentration camp" between March and July 2009.

Work on Trimble's house was abandoned after he "fell out" with a builder. Only foundations remain today.

"When he came first, he was driving a BMW jeep and he had a BMW car and a Passat. He seemed to be a very wealthy man," said one neighbour. "But he was a peeping Tom. He was a sicko who preyed on women over the years," she added.

Trimble moved away from the chalet some months ago and his parents are now living in rented accommodation.

Nearby in Clara, Mandy Regan, the owner of Sisters hair salon, said Trimble used to bring his mother to get her hair done every week before he locked her up. "She is a lovely lady. He'd drop her in here but he'd never look you in the eye."

Hughie Moran, from Bolart, stated Trimble's parents were "fierce nice" people.

"I used to see his father drawing the pension in Clara and he'd always stop for a chat, but the son was completely different. Even when you'd see him, sometimes he'd be frothing out of his mouth, like an animal and staring," said Mr Moran.

He also pointed out that Trimble had previously given "a few clatters" to a local boy. "He used to drink in Moate and in Clara but he was nearly barred everywhere," he added.

Trimble told his neighbours that he worked for a local car salesman, however, this was emphatically rejected by Jim Murray who said Trimble was a "compulsive liar".

"He looked for a job here many times but he was too pushy. He was mad to be involved in selling cars but I have five daughters, I just told him to leave," said Mr Murray.

Irish Independent

Today's news headlines, directly to your inbox every morning.

Editor's Choice

Also in Irish News