Man who admitted sending lewd texts to neighbour ordered to move
Woman tells court she woke up to accused rubbing her leg after breaking into her home
The judge said the accused had sent a large number of ‘wholly inappropriate’ texts which showed he had a deviant sexual propensity. File photograph: Dave Meehan
A man from Co Laois, who admitted sending a large volume of lewd, sexual text messages to a female neighbour over two years, has been ordered by a judge to move out of his home before sentencing in the case is finalised.
Paddy Dunne (48) of Slieve Bloom Park, Clonaslee, Co Laois, admitted to a sample count of harassing a 35-year-old woman who lives near him via anonymous text messages on dates between June 2016 and October 2018.
Dunne, a single, unemployed man, also pleaded guilty to a charge of burglary of a house in Clonaslee on September 13th, 2019, during an incident where a woman woke up in her sitting room to find the accused rubbing her leg.
Evidence was heard at Tullamore Circuit Criminal Court that Dunne’s neighbour complained to gardaí in August 2018 that she was regularly being sent highly sexualised text messages from two unknown mobile phone numbers.
Det Garda Gerard Galwey told the court that it had been impossible to trace the numbers, although it was established they were coming from the Clonaslee area.
A breakthrough in the case came after the woman was sent a text on September 17th, 2018, which read: “Well darling. Are you coming to spend one night with me? It’s my birthday and I’m after winning €140 in the lotto. Thinking about you, sweetheart. You sexy thing. Mad about you.”
Det Garda Galwey said a check on the Garda Pulse system had identified Dunne as having a birthday that matched the date.
Another text which made a reference to the sender having a Fetac award in computer applications was also consistent with Dunne’s qualifications.
When questioned by gardaí, Dunne admitted sending the texts from one phone, usually after drinking, but claimed they were “only a bit of craic”.
Det Garda Galwey said Dunne denied using the second number but the ringtone went off in Dunne’s bedroom when he dialled it.
In a victim impact statement, the woman described the texts as “disgusting” while they also referred to how she was dressed.
She said she had been proud of her independence but was now afraid to go out alone as she felt she was always being watched.
The court heard the woman had suspicions that Dunne was the person texting her but nobody had taken her seriously.
“I believe this man will do it again if not stopped,” she added.
In relation to the burglary, Det Garda Galwey said there was a “silent, staring situation” between Dunne and the woman after he had woken her up by rubbing her leg.
The court heard the woman managed to alert her partner who escorted Dunne, who appeared extremely drunk, outside the house.
He subsequently proceeded to bang on windows and doors after realising he had been locked out of the property.
Dunne told gardaí that he had drank two bottles of vodka and 10 cans of Red Bull on the night of the incident.
In a victim impact statement, the woman said she no longer socialised and had become paranoid and clinically depressed.
She said she had been left feeling insecure and full of self-hate and a strain had been put on her relationship with her partner, while her son had been teased in school.
The court heard that Dunne had a limited IQ and was isolated in his community with family members his only contacts.
Judge Keenan Johnson said Dunne had sent a large number of “wholly inappropriate” texts which showed he had a deviant sexual propensity.
A probation report classified him as a moderate risk for re-offending.
The judge said the messages had been very frightening and shocking for his victim as it was clear she was being watched.
He acknowledged that alcohol was a big factor in both crimes and Dunne had not appreciated the magnitude of his offending.
However, Judge Johnson said it was “extremely disconcerting” that Dunne lived near the woman.
Fixing a headline sentence of three years in prison for the offence, the judge said he would not finalise the case until May 12th.
He remanded Dunne on continuing bail but imposed a number of conditions including that he move out of Clonaslee and reside with his mother.
Dunne was also ordered to have no contact with either of his victims and to observe a daily curfew between 8pm and 8am.