Tuesday 12 December 2017

Alleged arson attack lands prisoner in piles of trouble


William Ryan waving from the steps of the courthouse last week.
William Ryan waving from the steps of the courthouse last week.

A NORTH WEXFORD man has denied carrying out an arson attack on a prison nurse's home after a row over a tube of haemorrhoid cream.

William Ryan (53) of Ballygarrett is alleged to have arranged for the arson attack on the home of Orla Finn from his cell in Wheatfield Prison.

He pleaded not guilty to unlawfully using a mobile phone from Wheatfield Prison on September 3, 2007 and to two counts of arson at Ms Finn's home in Dublin on the following day.

The court heard evidence last week that William Ryan complained that he was given a packet of sun cream instead of the piles treatment cream. Ms Finn told Paul Greene SC, prosecuting, said that when she gave Mr Ryan the 'Anusol' box on September 2, 2007, he was very agitated.

She said he said 'give me the f***ing cream' and snapped the box off her. She said he walked off and said: 'I hope you die of cancer'.

She said she made a complaint which resulted in the defendant being brought to the then prison governor Seamus Creamer the next day for a disciplinary hearing.

Mr Creamer, who is now retired, said that William Ryan told him he was suffering from piles and had being waiting for a number of hours to see a nurse.

He claimed that the box for a tube of Anusol haemorrhoid cream given to him actually contained a sachet of sun cream, and he produced a sachet of Ambre Solaire sun cream.

He said William Ryan said he knew where the nurse lived and gave her address. He said Ryan called the nurse a ' little f***ing bitch' and said they used to be neighbours.

The following night Ms Finn was asleep at home when her elderly mother, who lives in the house with her, woke her up to say her car was on fire.

Her car and her mother's Nissan Micra were destroyed, and the front of their home was damaged by smoke. She said she was left terrified in her own home after the alleged attack.

She said she took the Anusol box from a locked pharmacy room in the prison and that it was sealed when she gave it to the accused. She said that she had never dealt with William Ryan before this incident.

Detective Garda Kelly Dutton gave details of a recording of an authorised telephone call allegedly made by Ryan from the prison phone system to his wife, Fiona Ryan. In it accused allegedly told his wife 'I want something done' after telling her that he had been put on disciplinary report.

She said he can then be heard calling Nurse Finn a ' little midget screw' and telling his wife that she gave him sun cream instead of the haemorrhoid cream he asked for. He then allegedly asked his wife if a man named 'Ricer' was back from Spain because 'Ricer' was from the same area as Nurse Finn.

Detective Garda David Finnerty said that during a garda interview that Ryan denied being responsible for the arson attacks on Ms Finn's home.

In a second interview he said he had no doubt that it was him speaking on the telephone calls recordings. He told gardai: 'I wanted someone to have a word with her.'

Prison officer Owen Fogarty said that over the course of the day on September 2, 2007 the accused asked him on three occasions for the cream.

He said that on the third occasion the defendant appeared angry and agitated and told him that if he didn't get the medication he was going to ' box the head off' the next nurse he saw.

A neighbour of the Finns, Jennifer Cassidy, told Mr Greene that on the day of the alleged arson she gave directions to the Finn's house to a blonde haired woman in a car.

Detective Sergeant John Schley showed the jury a photograph of a woman with blonde coloured hair identified as Fiona Ryan, who had been taken into custody.

A lodger with the Finns said he looked out his window and saw a one gallon plastic can on the roof of the burning BMW. The two cars written off cost a total of €18,200.

Brendan McKenna from Vilicom Engineering said that he analysed the call details for the mobile phone registered to Fiona Ryan. Call details showed that on September 3, 2007 a number of calls were made between Ms Ryan's phone and a Meteor mobile phone.

He said that the records showed that Fiona Ryan's phone was in use in the Wexford area in the morning and in the south west Dublin area in the afternoon. He said that the records showed that her phone was in use in the Wexford area again that evening.

Yesterday, Monday, as closing speeches began, Judge Patrick McCartan ruled there wasn't enough evidence to support the charge of using a mobile phone while in prison and withdrew it from the jury.

The jury will retire today, Tuesday, to consider its verdict.

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