A BUS driver who arranged for a woman to have sex with his dog has avoided a prison sentence.
A garda investigation arose after the 43-year-old mother died following the act of bestiality in Limerick four years ago.
As a result, Sean McDonnell (58), of Rathmore, Churchill Meadows, Raheen, Limerick, appeared before Judge Carroll Moran in Limerick Circuit Criminal Court yesterday.
McDonnell pleaded guilty to a single offence of buggery with an animal -- a German Shepherd -- at Laurel Park, Patrickswell, Co Limerick, on October 7, 2008.
Under the relevant legislation, which dates back to 1861, he faced a sentence from any minimum to a maximum of life imprisonment. Judge Moran said it was a tragic case where the mother had died.
The judge said the unidentified woman willingly went to the house where "the purpose of her visit was to have sex with the dog".
Judge Moran said Mr McDonnell invited the woman "to his house for the purpose of undergoing an act of bestiality to be carried out by his dog".
Shortly after 6.30pm on the evening of October 7, 2008, gardai received a phone-call from McDonnell and arrived at his home.
The woman was found in an unresponsive condition and was brought to hospital, but was declared dead at 8.30pm.
A post-mortem examination could not provide positive findings and the cause of death was undetermined.
In April 2009, gardai took control of the Alsatian and a DNA profile from the dog matched a sample found in the deceased person's body.
Judge Moran said he was shocked to hear that a computer examined by gardai showed that there were 1.5 million hits on a bestiality website over a five-month period.
Mobile phones from Mr McDonnell and the woman were also examined and there was prior contact between them before her death.
The judge said the guilty party, who is a separated father, had been employed as a bus driver but lost his job because of the adverse publicity and moved to England.
According to the EU haulage regulations, any person placed on the sex offenders' register is disqualified from having a haulage licence for a vehicle which carries more than nine people.
The judge said that "in these tolerant times, acts of bestiality are socially repugnant".
He said the deceased went there of her own accord, knew the purpose of her visit, engaged in bestiality of her own free will and there was no coercion.
Judge Moran said McDonnell did not anticipate her death, immediately sought medical help and didn't try to alter the scene.
The court heard that McDonnell was not the principle offender but aided and abetted the crime. The judge suspended a three-year sentence and placed him on the sex offenders' register for five years.