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Saturday 10 December 2016

'Vulnerable' woman who sent death threat to Aras avoids prison

Fennell made nuisance calls. Photo: Collins
Fennell made nuisance calls. Photo: Collins

A woman sent obscene phone messages, including one to Aras an Uachtarain, threatening to bomb President Higgins if he ever visited England.

Anne Fennell, who referred to Mr Higgins as a "ladyboy", told the Aras an Uachtarain receptionist that "the President and Sabrina Higgins would go home in plastic bags if they set foot on English soil".

Priest

She repeatedly threatened to bomb the President in 2014, Dublin Circuit Criminal Court was told.

It also heard evidence of a campaign of harassment against her parish priest - she made nuisance calls and sent taxis and takeaways to his home.

Fennell (57), of Monastery Gate Green, Clondalkin, admitted making persistent annoying phone calls and sending obscene or menacing phone messages to Aras an Uachtarain, the Department of Finance, An Post Dublin Mail Centre and three TDs. She also admitted harassing Fr Desmond Byrne in 2006.

The court heard that the area around Dail Eireann had to be searched in November 2014 when Fennell called to say there was a bomb at the main gate. The parliamentary usher who took the call said Fennell, a former An Post worker, had hung up "screaming".

Judge Melanie Greally yesterday noted that Fennell had abused people in "frightening terms" and that many of the threats had to be regarded as serious and resources had to be expended to satisfy the auth- orities that they were bogus.

She noted that Fennell had a particularly vulnerable psychological make-up and had exceptional difficulties in her life.

She said that since the offences, Fennell had brought about a number of positive changes in her life and had engaged with psychological services.

Progress

Fennell had made some progress, but did not seem to app- reciate the magnitude of her actions and their impact on victims, although she noted she was remorseful.

Judge Greally said she did not think Fennell would benefit from being incarcerated.

She imposed consecutive sentences totalling five years which she suspended and ordered 18 months of probation super- vision to include psychiatric and therapeutic services within the community.

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