A CONVICTED gang rapist has been jailed for a total of three and a half years for his role in what a judge described as a violent robbery committed by violent offenders.
Limerick criminal Thomas O'Neill, who is the partner of former State witness April Collins, was jailed at Limerick Circuit Court yesterday.
The 25-year-old pleaded guilty along with 34-year-old convicted killer Michael Hayes of Galvone Road, Kennedy Park to bungling a man down a Limerick city laneway and robbing him of a mobile phone and some change shortly before 11pm on March 30 last.
The injured party, although not physically hurt during the ordeal, was described as being "frozen in fear".
Both men were apprehended a short distance from the scene but were described as being "uncooperative" after arrest.
However, they both pleaded guilty to the charges of robbery and false imprisonment at the earliest possible opportunity, the court heard.
Outling the previous convictions of both men, Counsel for the State, John O'Sullivan told the court Michael Hayes was convicted of manslaughter in January 2005. He also has previous convictions for larceny, burglary, possession of knives, assault and criminal damage.
Thomas O'Neill was sentenced to 10 years detention for a notorious and brutal gang rape of a woman in Cratloe Woods in 2005. He also has previous convictions for assaults, threats to cause criminal damage, false imprisonment, intimidation and burglary.
Judge Carroll Moran said he did accept that the pleas of guilty were entered at the earliest possible opportunity.
Imposing a four-year prison term on each accused, the judge said "this must have been a very traumatic experience for the injured party".