Man accused of kidnapping father (80) and stealing savings, granted bail

James O’Connor (40) accused of stealing €8,000 of his father’s pension and savings

Five days after being reported missing gardaí in Portlaoise found Jimmy O’Connor “crying and wearing his slippers” in his son’s car, outside the Gandon Inn.

Five days after being reported missing gardaí in Portlaoise found Jimmy O’Connor “crying and wearing his slippers” in his son’s car, outside the Gandon Inn.

 

A man charged in connection with the abduction of his 80-year old father, and stealing his savings, was granted bail on Tuesday despite objections from gardaí.

Evidence during a bail hearing heard how gardaí, responding to a 999 alert about a possible kidnapping, discovered missing person Jimmy O’Connor, “crying” and “in his slippers” in his son’s car, 125km from his Limerick home.

Det Garda Brian Culbert alleged James O’Connor (40) was an “unpredictable and dangerous individual”. The accused is alleged to have stolen more than €8,000 of his father’s pension and credit union savings.

Limerick District Court heard that Jimmy O’Connor was reported missing by a concerned family member on May 29th.

Det Garda Culbert said that, five days later, gardaí in Portlaoise informed him they had found Mr O’Connor snr “crying and wearing his slippers” in his son’s car, outside the Gandon Inn.

“When gardaí spoke to Jim O’Connor he informed them he was being held captive and that his credit union account had been cleared out,” Det Garda Culbert said.

Gardaí “observed food and blankets” in the accused’s car, which was seized as part of the Garda investigation, the court heard.

Different locations

Det Garda Culbert alleged the accused kept his father at a number of different locations in the State, and that Mr O’Connor snr was “not allowed” contact his daughter. He alleged the accused brought his father to an apartment in Mountmelkick, Co Laois, for a period of 12 days.

Gardaí said they were compiling corroborating evidence from independent witnesses and CCTV footage.

Det Garda Culbert alleged “abusive and threatening” text messages were sent from the accused’s mobile phone to members of his family, in which demands were made for Jimmy O’Connor’s bank card.

The court heard that two family members had “fled their homes” and gone to stay with relatives in the US, as they were “terrified” of the accused. The garda said he believed that, if granted bail, the accused would “interfere with witnesses”, “commit further similar serious offences” and fail to appear in court later on.

Solicitor Darach McCarthy said his client was entitled to the presumption of innocence and that he would abide by any conditions of bail.

Judge Mary Larkin granted bail on the accused’s own bond of €300, and an independent surety of €6,000 of which €4,000 was to be lodged with the court. The accused was remanded to appear before the court again on June 27th.