Sunday 23 October 2016

Killer assaulted woman and set her home ablaze days after jail release

Killer Stephen Rock (Courtpix)
Killer Stephen Rock (Courtpix)

A convicted murderer has been sentenced to 10 years in prison for burning down a family home just days after he was released from a life sentence.

Detective Inspector Colm O'Malley told Monika Leech BL, prosecuting, that Stephen Rock (51) was seen "in the vicinity" of the home on the night of July 12, 2014.

Dublin Circuit Criminal Court heard "an item" which looked like a "shoe box" was seen by a witness burning in the window of the house on the night of the fire.

Counsel told the court that Leanne Nolan managed to rescue her mother, Maureen Nolan, and her younger brother from the house. One of the family pets did not survive the blaze.

"The jury heard evidence that as a result of the blaze the house was destroyed and the family had to move to temporary accommodation," said Ms Leech.

The court heard Maureen Nolan had been "assaulted" by Rock when he came to the house earlier that day and herself and her daughter Leanne asked him to leave.


"When Mr Rock was asked to leave he said they would be sorry when he came back," counsel said.

Rock denied starting the fire when interviewed by gardai.

The court heard the economic loss to the family was €40,000, which did not include the "property loss to the house" which included beds, curtains and family pictures.

Rock was previously convicted for murder and jailed for life in 1989. The court heard he was serving his time in Shelton Abbey Prison in Arklow when he escaped in 1999.

"He had served 10 years in prison before he absconded and he subsequently returned to this jurisdiction following an arrest warrant," said Det Insp O'Malley.

The court heard Rock continued to serve his sentence from 2005 to 2014 before he was admitted to full temporary release on July 08 2014.

Judge Patrick McCartan said that what Rock did: "was very serious and very dangerous particularly for a man with his record and who had been on temporary release and given full release from his sentence only four days before".


Rock was found guilty of damaging a house at Colepark Drive in Ballyfermot, Dublin and intending to endanger the life of another. He had pleaded not guilty to the charge.

The judge commended Leanne Nolan for attempting to put out the fire and rescuing her brother and mother before he sentenced Rock - of Priorswood House in Coolock, Dublin - to 10 years in prison.

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