Sunday 19 November 2017

With friends like Breifne O'Brien, who needs enemies?

Victims of the conman are scrambling for their money and reeling from 'horrendous' betrayal, writes Maeve Sheehan

Breifne O'Brien leaves his home on Silchester Road last week
Breifne O'Brien leaves his home on Silchester Road last week

WHEN Breifne O'Brien married Fiona Nagle at a sophisticated wedding ceremony in Carrigrohane Castle in Cork in 2007, the debonair businessman showed gratitude for his good fortune. There were some people he wanted to thank, he told the assembled guests.

One person was singled out for particular praise: David Bell, a respected former High Court taxing master and octogenarian. Mr O'Brien, who had often sought his advice, thanked the elderly gentleman for all he had done through the many years they had known each other. At Mr O'Brien's invitation, the assembled guests then rose to their feet in a rousing standing ovation for the solicitor who had showed such kindness towards the groom.

One guest recalled the moving tribute in baffled dismay last week. While publicly lauding Mr Bell, Mr O'Brien was secretly ripping him off. Not only Mr Bell, but also his son, Paul, and several of the guests, old friends who warmly toasted his future happiness on that September afternoon, oblivious to the staggering betrayal.

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