Man blackmailed sister-in-law with pictures of porn model

Patrick O’Dwyer alleged victim’s husband had affair and claimed to have vial of his semen

 The man sent the letter with the photographs because he blamed his sister-in-law Ria Burgoyne for the break-up of his marriage, Cork Circuit Criminal Court was told. Photograph: Collins Courts

The man sent the letter with the photographs because he blamed his sister-in-law Ria Burgoyne for the break-up of his marriage, Cork Circuit Criminal Court was told. Photograph: Collins Courts

 

A 52-year-old man sent a letter with sexually explicit pictures of a porn model to his sister-in-law alleging her husband was having an affair with the model, a court has heard.

He sent it because he blamed his sister-in-law Ria Burgoyne for the break-up of his marriage, Cork Circuit Criminal Court was told.

Patrick O’Dwyer from Wolfe Tone Place, Thurles, also attempted to blackmail Ms Burgoyne into handing over €10,000 in cash in exchange for a vial of her husband Phillip’s semen, which he claimed to have in his possession, the court heard. He planned to give the money to his ex-wife Joanne in a bid to get back together with her.

O’Dwyer pleaded guilty to extortion of €10,000 from Ms Burgoyne by menaces in Midleton on October 20th last year and to possession of a balaclava with intent to commit an offence at Whitegate on October 23rd last.

Det Sgt Seán Leahy told how Ms Burgoyne received a large red envelope at her place of work on October 9th last. When she opened it, she found it contained a lengthy handwritten letter and colour photographs of a naked woman in sexually explicit poses.

The letter falsely alleged Mr Burgoyne was having an affair with the woman depicted in the photographs while the writer also claimed to have a vial of Mr Burgoyne’s semen as well as a pair of his boxer shorts.

Ms Burgoyne contacted gardaí and gave them the letter. But 11 days later, on October 20th, 2015, a second handwritten letter arrived and on this occasion, the writer demanded €10,000 in cash to buy back the vial of Mr Burgoyne’s semen and his boxer shorts.

The writer said they hoped Ms Burgoyne would pay the money or else they would have to send somebody to her family home to collect the cash. But three days later, a third letter was sent detailing how the money was to be paid and where.

Gardaí mounted a surveillance operation on the specified location, a disused shed in Upper Aghada in Whitegate, and arrested O’Dwyer after he entered the shed. They found him with a balaclava and a sock which he was using as a glove to avoid leaving fingerprints.

Ms Burgoyne had nominated O’Dwyer as a suspect because of the way the letter writer had incorrectly spelt her surname.

When he was arrested and questioned, O’Dwyer made full admissions that he was behind the extortion attempt and co-operated fully with gardaí.

Det Sgt Leahy said O’Dwyer blamed his sister-in-law for the break-up of his own marriage. He was jealous of her marriage and bizarrely believed that if he could wreck her marriage, it would somehow put him in a good light with his own wife and they would get back together again.

Sex addict

O’Dwyer had said he was working as an energy therapist at the time and was counselling a sex addict. It was on hearing that man’s story that he came up with the idea of using pictures of a porn model to blackmail his sister-in-law into paying him €10,000 which he was then going to give to his ex-wife.

Defence barrister Ray Boland said his client had a very skewed perception of matters in which he blamed his sister-in-law for the break-up of his marriage and, with a bizarre logic, felt that if her marriage collapsed dramatically, it would make his own breakup look less disruptive and irreversible.

Mr Boland said O’Dwyer appeared to have undergone a personality change following the death of an infant son two days after he was born, the loss of his drapery business in a fire and the deaths of both his parents, all within a short space of time.

He had been assessed by consultant psychiatrist Dr Stephanie Bourke who found he was exhibiting symptoms of paranoia. She was due to have another report on him within a week and Mr Boland applied to have the matter adjourned until next week.

Judge David Riordan, who had earlier described a victim impact statement from Ms Burgoyne as making for “harrowing reading”, agreed to the application and remanded O’Dwyer on bail to appear again on June 9th for sentence.