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Too scared to leave house over threats

A young man has claimed that he is living in fear of his life and is almost under house arrest due to the "real and live" threat which exists on his life.

Leonard Clarke (20) said he and his family are nearly always confined to their house as they are scared that they are going to be shot at or killed.

His lawyer told a court that the threat on his life was "live" in light of "what happened at the weekend" -- believed to refer to the murder of Coolock man John Paul Joyce, and the double killing of two men, Brendan Molyneaux and Paddy Mooney, in the city centre.

Clarke said a "real and live" threat exists against him, and he's so scared to leave the house that he often misses his weekly social welfare payment, as he's too afraid to walk to the local social welfare office.

A judge said that if Clarke is living in fear he could move out of Dublin and down the country.

Sentenced

Judge Patrick Brady also said Clarke could change his name -- if he wished.

Judge Brady sentenced Clarke to four months in prison after he heard he was not suitable for community service due to the threats on his life.

Clarke, from Coolock Drive, Coolock, previously admitted before Swords District Court to driving without insurance or a driving licence at Station Road, Malahide on February 17, 2009.

The matter was back up before the court to see if he was suitable for community service.

Laura Shannon, defending, said Clarke was willing to do community service, but the Probation Service had decided he was not a suitable candidate due to the threats on his life.

'"After what happened at the weekend [the murder of John Paul Joyce, and the double killing of Brendan Molyneaux and innocent victim, Paddy Mooney] this threat to Clarke is real and live," said Ms Shannon.

The court heard that Clarke has had a difficult few years and has suffered from depression.

His father died in tragic circumstances in 2007, and his young son died shortly afterwards. Ms Shannon said Clarke has since become a father for the second time, to a second son.

Escapes

On the offences, she said the defendant was driving his car as "a form of escapism" to get away from his problems.

Ms Shannon urged Judge Brady not to imprison Clarke, saying his life is very difficult at the moment. She said he previously worked as a forklift driver but has been out of work, and unable to look for work, due to the threats on his life.

He is nearly housebound, as is his family.

And the court heard that the threats show no sign of decreasing.

Ms Shannon also said Clarke has no money to move down the country or to change his name.

Judge Brady refused to suspend the sentence and sentenced Clarke to four months in prison. He fixed recognisances in the event of an appeal.

hnews@herald.ie


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