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Thursday 24 May 2018

Sharon's stalker jailed for three years over 'sordid' images

Conor O'Hora
Conor O'Hora
Victim Sharon Ni Bheolain

A child porn pervert who harassed RTE newsreader Sharon Ni Bheolain has been jailed for three years for stalking the broadcaster and possessing child pornography.

Conor O'Hora (41), of Heather Walk, Portmarnock, Dublin, pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to harassing Ms Ni Bheolain between March 27, 2013, and January 7, 2014.

O'Hora, who superimposed Ms Ni Bheolain's head on more than 30 pornographic photos, further pleaded guilty to three counts of knowingly possessing child pornography on a mobile phone and on a computer hard drive at Station Road, Portmarnock, on February 18, 2014.

The court heard that the harassment involved posting more than 30 modified photos of Ms Ni Bheolain on a website which was reachable through a Google search of her name.

The pornography charges involved the possession of roughly 100 images of children and 40 sexually explicit and violent online conversations between O'Hora and a co-accused.

Some of the online discussions related to Ms Ni Bheolain, while others related to three identified children.

Passing sentence yesterday, Judge Martin Nolan condemned O'Hora's "insidious form of harassment" and "debasing behaviour" and handed down a four-and-a-half-year sentence, with the final 18 months suspended.

"The information on her will be out there forever," said the judge, who also ordered O'Hora not to seek to contact Ms Ni Bheolain in any way.

"I've no doubt it caused considerable distress to the complainant and her family. He must have known that.

"It was reprehensible and he should be thoroughly ashamed."

Disgusting

The judge described the images and conversations as "sordid and pretty disgusting".

The final 18 months of the sentence were suspended on the basis of O'Hora's mitigation, including the hope for his reform and the steps he has already taken toward rehabilitation.

Detective Garda Padraig Hanley told Kerida Naidoo SC, prosecuting, that gardai were alerted after modified images of Ms Ni Bheolain were found online when her name was put into Google. The court heard they comprised photos of Ms Ni Bheolain's head which were then superimposed on to pornographic images.

O'Hora co-operated fully with gardai. He had one minor previous conviction, for a road traffic offence.

Det Gda Hanley told Judge Nolan that O'Hora had "no particular malice, just a fixation" toward Ms Ni Bheolain.

Pieter Le Vert BL, defending, said O'Hora did not wish Ms Ni Bheolain any harm and that the images and conversations were just "really bad fantasies".

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