Wednesday 25 April 2018

Gardai issue alert for arrest of farm worker 'obsessed and infatuated' with older woman

Conor Haugh
Conor Haugh

Gordon Deegan

Gardai have put an alert out for the arrest of a 24-year-old farm worker “obsessed and infatuated” with an older married woman.

Garda placed the alert on the Garda system for sightings of Conor Haugh yesterday after Judge Gerald Keys issued a bench warrant for the arrest of Mr Haugh at a special sitting of Ennis Circuit Court after Mr Haugh failed to show.

In November 2016, Judge Keys imposed a two year suspended jail term on Mr Haugh of Killballyowen, Cross on the Loop Head peninsula in west Clare after he pleaded guilty to harassing the 43-year-old woman between February 2014 and January 5th 2015.

The State brought the matter back before a special sitting of the court yesterday with solicitor acting for the State, Aisling Casey telling the court that there has been four alleged breached of the terms of the suspended sentence.

Judge Keys has previously warned Mr Haugh that if there are any further breaches, he will be sending him to jail.

Judge Keys said yesterday that if Mr Haugh is not brought before a court before Sunday, any breaches of the suspended sentence “will become moot or is at end” as the term of the suspended jail term expires on Sunday.

Judge Keys said that Mr Haugh “knows if he doesn’t turn up today the time of the suspended sentence will come to an end and this has the effect of depriving this court of the jurisdiction of dealing with his breach of conditions”.

Judge Keys said that because of this “silly technicality” Mr Haugh can frustrate the criminal justice system.

Ms Casey said: “At this juncture, the matter has become one that is very serious and Gardai have serious concerns. The Gardai will endeavour to have him before a court by tomorrow evening."

Ms Casey said that Gardai will issue an alert for sightings of Mr Haugh and his arrest.

On Mr Haugh not turning up in court, Judge Keys said: “This has now reached a stage where it is gone very, very serious. I just don’t understand somebody who conducts himself like that. I am very disappointed."

He said: “This court has been very, very lenient in relation to facilitating this man and dealing with his problems. Every opportunity he has been given he  has breached as far as I understand.

Judge Keys added: “The victim in this case has to be protected.”

Ms Casey said that the victim has now retained her own solicitor and “attended her solicitor yesterday to make a statement”.

Counsel for Mr Haugh, Yvonne Quinn BL said that Mr Haugh has been availing of the Probation Service and the Clare Mental Health Service.

She said: “I don’t know why he is not here.”

At a hearing in February, Ms Quinn said that Mr Haugh’s obsession and infatuation has been with the older married woman and no one else.

Ms Quinn who made her comment after Gardai confirmed that they found 12 photos of the woman and her relatives on Mr Haugh’s Samsung mobile phone.

Mr Haugh downloaded them from social media websites including two downloaded from Facebook on December 3rd last.

Garda Niall Cosgrave said that Mr Haugh also made an attempt to contact the injured party via Snapchat on November 2nd last.

Ms Quinn said that a previous Probation Report found that Mr Haugh demonstrated a degree of distorted thinking “and I would submit that this appears to be the case in this instance”

Ms Quinn said that most of the photos had been on Mr Haugh’s phone since 2015 “and he made no attempt to delete them or hide them”.

Mr Haugh - who has no previous convictions - and his victim live just one mile apart on the Loop Head peninsula and she didn’t know of him prior to the texts being sent.

In evidence at an earlier court date, Garda Cosgrave said that in one text in 2014 Mr Haugh sent to the woman, he texted ‘I think you’re a MILF. I saw you over the Summer with your tanned body. Very hot.”

Garda Cosgrave said that the victim was not the only woman to receive texts from Mr Haugh and the Garda investigation discovered that Mr Haugh was sending texts to other women in the area and one as far away as Kerry.

Garda Cosgrave said that the typical profile of the ladies is that there were in their 40s and 50s, married women with children.

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