The convicted rapist who strangled himself in Limerick Prison last weekend was apparently concerned he would be subject to a continuing campaign of violence on his release from jail, according to garda sources.
Dean Barry, 24, from Ballinacurra Weston, Limerick, was only 16 when he was part of a depraved five-man gang that savagely raped a woman and threatened to kill her and her boyfriend in Cratloe Woods in Co Clare in January 2004. The gang beat the woman and man with golf clubs and other weapons, locked the man in the boot of the car and raped the woman. At one stage they shouted at the man that they were going to burn the car with him in it.
The ordeal lasted for around 45 minutes. It ended when the man managed to escape from the boot and summon help from a passing motorist. During his escape he was viciously beaten but managed to get hold of two golf clubs to defend himself.
Barry was released after serving less than six years of a nine-year sentence.
On his release in October 2010, Barry returned to Limerick where he was arrested the following month for failing to inform gardai of his whereabouts as he was directed to, having been placed on the national sex offenders' register. He was sentenced to four months' imprisonment for this offence in November 2010.
Last year he was arrested on at least three occasions in relation to violent incidents: assaulting a woman in Limerick city centre in September; assaulting a man by smashing a bottle over his head then sticking it in the man's face on the same day as the assault on the woman; and with violent behaviour at the Mid-Western Regional Hospital in Limerick where he threatened staff and patients at the hospital while apparently drunk.
Local people say they believe Barry's decision to kill himself was a result of feuding he had become involved in with other serious criminal figures in Limerick.
He was involved in one fracas in which he apparently attacked two men with a baseball bat and Barry believed he would be killed when released from prison, according to sources.
During one of his court appearances last autumn Limerick District Court was told that he was "living in fear of his life" because of the enemies he had made among the city's drugs gangs. Local people say Barry thought he had aligned himself with one of the major gangs, apparently unaware that the gang had splintered and that he was siding with one group which was the subject of attack by their former associates. Local people said that last August he received a "hiding" in front of a group of around 30 onlookers on Hyde Road at Ballinacurra Weston.
Barry had a record of 44 convictions most of them by the age of 16 when he became involved in the gang rape in Cratloe Woods in 2004. He was part of a gang that was marauding and robbing homes and business premises outside Limerick city.
He was in prison awaiting sentence after pleading guilty last November to the attempted arson on the house where two women were living.
Barry was sharing a cell with his brother Mark, 21, who is serving a sentence for robbery.
During a brief period when he was alone in the cell last Saturday, he tied a noose made from clothing around his neck and then twisted it around a bed frame until he strangled himself.
There was no sign of life when he was found by staff.