A tenant, who put a West Cork woman and her family through ‘a living hell’ in a bid to force them to sell him the property at a reduced price, has been given a week by a judge to come up with over €13,000 in compensation.
Denis O’Connor (67) pleaded guilty in February to causing criminal damage to a house belonging to Audrey O’Mahony at Duneen, Ballinvredig, Ballinspittle, by removing roof rafters and damaging floors and various fittings between December 5th 2015 and July 23rd 2018.
O’Connor from Hillside, Cappagh, Kinsale, also pleaded guilty to the theft of a fitted kitchen worth €1,000 which he removed from the property to replace with his own kitchen, which he in turn removed when he left.
In February, Judge Sean Ó Donnabháin warned O’Connor that he was facing a jail term if he did not come up with the balance of €13,500 in compensation for Ms O’Mahony after hearing that he had only paid back €2,500 to cover the cost of the damage to the house which was put at €16,000.
This week, O’Connor’s barrister, Donal O’Sullivan BL said that his client – who had been remanded in custody – had been declared bankrupt but was confident of being able to come with the cash via a loan from a family friend.
He asked for a week’s adjournment and Judge Ó Donnabháin agreed to give him until April 22nd and remanded him in continuing custody until then.
Garda Cormac Dineen told in February how the O’Mahonys moved from the cottage in Ballinspittle to their new home in Clonakilty and put the house up for rent and O’Connor began renting it in 2015 and agreed to carry out some minor repair works with their consent. However, the O’Mahonys gave him no permission to remove 27 roof rafters and take up a hall floor and other actions which left them with a bill for damage totalling €16,000.
He said that O’Connor moved out of the property in January 2018 – over a year after he had stopped paying rent and while he had pleaded guilty, he had paid only €2,500 in compensation.