herald

Friday 9 December 2016

Thug plans to sue the State after serving time for covering up murder

Patrick O’Connor claims he was given the wrong medicine
Patrick O’Connor claims he was given the wrong medicine

A man who was convicted of covering up the murder of a young mother is planning on bringing a High Court case against the State and the Irish Prison Service (IPS) as a result of alleged wrongdoing while he was incarcerated.

Patrick O'Connor (46) was sentenced to 10 years after pleading guilty to impeding an investigation following the discovery of Rebecca French's body in the boot of a burnt-out vehicle.

Gardai say the young mother-of-two was murdered, but no one has been convicted in relation to her death.

Remorse

It has now emerged that O'Connor, who has never shown remorse for his role in impeding the investigation into the 30-year-old's death, plans on taking legal action over his time served in Dublin's Wheatfield Prison.

The Herald has learned that O'Connor, from Wexford, has approached a legal firm in the capital in an effort to bring a case against the State and the IPS.

It is believed that the reason behind the civil suit concerns wrong medication O'Connor alleges was given to him during his imprisonment.

A spokesperson for the IPS said the organisation does not comment on individual cases.

The Herald witnessed O'Connor speaking with a legal team in Dublin's Four Courts earlier this month during a meeting that lasted almost 30 minutes.

He then made his way to Heuston Station where he mingled with fellow passengers before boarding a train to Waterford.

When approached, he refused to comment on his planned High Court action.

He was also asked if he had any remorse for his involvement in the Rebecca French murder investigation, but again made no reply.

O'Connor, who was out on bail for possession of a shotgun and facing charges over a violent burglary at the time of Ms French's death, was one of four men in the house in Ard na Dara, Wexford, when she was beaten to death with a golf club in October 2009.

Despite being handed a maximum 10-year sentence by Mr Justice Barry White in 2010, O'Connor walked free from Wheatfield Prison last year.

O'Connor, now living in Co Tipperary, and Piotr Pasiak, of Lower John Street, Wexford, pleaded guilty to impeding the investigation into the killing of Ms French.

The other men, Ricardas Dilys and Ruslanas Mineikas, were on trial for murder when the charges were dropped and the pair agreed to plead guilty to impeding the investigation.

Technicality

State Pathologist Prof Marie Cassidy told their trial that the cause of death had been blunt force trauma to the head.

They had pleaded not guilty to murder charges, which were dropped when a legal technicality meant their admissions in garda custody could not be used against them.

Before the downgrading of the charges, the prosecution's case was that Dilys used a golf club to inflict three fractures to Ms French's skull, while Mineikas broke a number of her ribs by kicking and stamping.

Speaking at the conclusion of the trial in Dublin, Judge Barry White described the killing as "brutal" and "savage".

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