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Sunday 11 December 2016

Furious residents hit out at 'betrayal' over convicted killer living secretly in their area

Crime

Senator Averil Power outside Priorswood House
Senator Averil Power outside Priorswood House

Residents of a north Dublin community have described the housing of a notorious killer in the area without their knowledge as "a disgrace".

Stephen Rock burned down the house of a woman in Ballyfermot just days after being released from a life sentence. Last month he was jailed for 10 years for that fire attack.

During the court sitting it emerged that Rock, who previously served a life sentence for murder, was residing at an address at Priorswood House, Coolock. The premises are used by the Probation Service to house criminals recently released from prison.

Agreement

However, local residents are angry at the revelation, claiming at the time the house was opened an agreement was reached that individuals with a serious conviction would not be housed there.

Betty Farnham, a local in the area, described the housing of Rock in Priorswood as a "disgrace". She added that nobody in the estate was aware he was living there.

"There was an agreement made a number of years ago, when Priorswood House opened, that only low-risk offenders would be placed there," she said.

"I was shocked to hear a convicted murderer had been living there. The house is near a primary school, and for people not to be made aware that he was living there is a disgrace."

General Election candidate Averil Power (Independent) said that residents feel "betrayed" by the Probation Service.

"People in the area feel betrayed - a convicted killer was living on their road and they weren't even made aware of this," she said.

"It only came out in a court report and it goes against what was agreed with the people of Priorswood. It is not acceptable - and I have written to the Justice Minister on the matter."

The Department of Justice, which oversees the Probation Service, did not respond to a request to comment.

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