Man who harassed neighbour must permanently leave home to avoid jail

Paddy Dunne sent lewd texts to woman over two-year period and broke into house

Dunne had pleaded guilty at an earlier sitting of Tullamore Circuit Criminal Court to a sample count of harassing his 35-year-old neighbour via anonymous text messages on dates between June 2016 and October 2018. File photograph: Collins Courts

Dunne had pleaded guilty at an earlier sitting of Tullamore Circuit Criminal Court to a sample count of harassing his 35-year-old neighbour via anonymous text messages on dates between June 2016 and October 2018. File photograph: Collins Courts

 

A Co Laois man who admitted sending a large volume of lewd, sexual text messages to a female neighbour over a two-year period has been told he must move away permanently from his home if he wants to avoid going to prison.

Judge Keenan Johnson told Paddy Dunne (48) of Slieve Bloom Park, Clonaslee, Co Laois, that he should not return to that address if he wanted a jail sentence he is facing to be suspended.

Dunne had pleaded guilty at an earlier sitting of Tullamore Circuit Criminal Court to a sample count of harassing his 35-year-old neighbour via anonymous text messages on dates between June 2016 and October 2018.

The unemployed labourer 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 sittingroom to find Dunne rubbing her leg.

The judge told Dunne in March that he regarded a three-year jail term as the headline sentence for the harassment offence but he adjourned finalisation of the case on condition that the defendant moved out of his council house in Clonaslee and went to live with his mother.

Counsel for the DPP, Will Fennelly, told the court this week that Dunne had been living with his mother over the past two months but it was not a permanent solution as he was sleeping on a couch.

The court heard Dunne was trying to find alternative accommodation by seeking a transfer from Laois County Council but that it could take some time to arrange.

The judge remanded Dunne on bail until October 26th on condition he has no contact with the woman and observes a daily curfew between 8pm and 8am.