Wexford News

Wexford retired garda who falsely accused former wife's solicitor of genocide is jailed for threats to kill

Wexford retired garda who falsely accused former wife's solicitor of genocide is jailed for threats to kill
Dublin Central Criminal Court, ยฉ PA Wire/PA Images

A retired garda who falsely accused his ex-wife's solicitor of genocide before sending the solicitor's wife bullets and threatening to kill their children has been jailed for two years.

Maurice O'Carroll (63), with an address in Co Wexford, was found guilty by a Dublin Circuit Criminal Court jury of two counts of harassment and two counts of threatening to kill the solicitor and his wife on dates between December 2019 and September 2020 following a trial last November.

Detective Garda Barry Brennan told Kieran Kelly BL, prosecuting, that O'Carroll harassed and threatened to kill the family of the solicitor who represented his wife in divorce proceedings.

The court heard O'Carroll developed animosity towards the solicitor, and he sent five letters to the man's home address where he lived with his family.

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The first letter was addressed to the solicitor's wife and alleged that her husband was a gambler, a cheater and was involved in genocide, gun-running, and arms dealing.

The letter said: “Your world, and that of especially your children, is about to come crumbling down” and that the children would be targeted and “a tremendous amount of pain and suffering will befall them”.

Another letter asked the solicitor's wife to “pick one of (her) children” to die, while another alleged that her husband was involved with a “lowkey, private prostitute” in Wexford.

The final letter the wife received contained a live and a spent bullet, and said: “You won't even see it coming. That's a promise”.

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Sentencing O'Carroll on Tuesday, Judge Sarah Berkeley said: “For someone to behave in this fashion as an ex-member of An Garda Siochana, having an unblemished history, is quite incredible.”

She noted O'Carroll made things “extremely difficult” for his victims, who knew he was a former garda and that he knew their address. The effects were “extremely profound”, and O'Carroll “took away their sense of security and imposed fear”.

The judge noted that O'Carroll, who represented himself at trial, “presented as a pleasant man” and was not difficult to deal with. The court heard O'Carroll had written a letter of apology and had €20,000 for his victims, which they declined to accept.

The judge noted that O'Carroll was assessed as being at a low risk of re-offending. She handed down a sentence of three years and suspended the final year on several conditions, including that he refrain from contacting his victims for a period of five years.

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In a victim impact statement handed into the court and read out on his behalf, the solicitor described O'Carroll as a “country charlatan” involved in a “relentless campaign of harassment and vilification against me for no reason that I can discern.”

The man said he did not think O'Carroll genuinely believed he was ever involved in what was alleged, but that “it merely served his purpose”.

He described how the harassment and threats were a huge concern for him, leading him to install security cameras at his home and take great care going about his daily business.

The solicitor said O'Carroll has “never shown any remorse” and expressed apprehension that he would continue his campaign against him.

His wife also handed in a victim impact statement to the court. “I was scared stiff of the threats O'Carroll made,” she said.

“I really feared that he was capable of violence. I still do not feel safe,” she added.

“...Before the letter came, I used to feel safe, secure, and comfortable in my home. That was taken from me,” she wrote. “My husband never did anything against him except to represent his former wife to the best of his abilities.”

John Griffin BL, defending, said his client had a long and unblemished work history as a member of An Garda Siochana. He had 30 years of “exemplary service” before he retired in 2013, the court heard. He has no prior convictions and has been in custody since last November.

Mr Griffin submitted his client was remorseful but agreed with Judge Sarah Berkeley that it was “worrying” that a Probation Services report before the court asserted that while O'Carroll is remorseful for the hurt he caused the solicitor's wife, he still has anger issues against the solicitor.

By David O'Sullivan and Isabel Hayes

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