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Friday 27 April 2018

Rapist jailed for 12 years for failed gun attack on dad-of-3

Eoghan O’Connell
Eoghan O’Connell

A convicted rapist has been sentenced to 12 years in prison for attempting to murder a Wicklow man in front of his family, failing only because his shotgun cartridges were damp.

Eoghan O'Connell twice tried to shoot the father-of-three as the man was leaving his home to go to work shortly after 7am.

However, the shotgun misfired both times.

The victim and his family have since left Co Wicklow.

Masked

Cancer survivor O'Connell (29), of Dargle Heights, Bray, was before the Central Criminal Court yesterday for sentencing.

Father-of-three O'Connell had pleaded guilty to attempting to murder the man in his driveway at Old Court Park, Bray, on April 8, 2016.

The court had heard last month that the victim, who is in his late 30s, was confronted by a masked man brandishing a shotgun as he left his family to go to work that morning.

Mr Justice Patrick McCarthy noted yesterday that O'Connell had discharged the weapon twice, "plainly in an attempt to kill him", but the ammunition was damp and the shotgun misfired.

Two spent cartridges were found on the ground.

"He struggled with the assailant and pulled off his bala- clava," he said of the victim. "His 11-year-old son tried to help, using a brush."

The judge noted that the man had known his attacker since childhood.

He said the background to the attack was not completely clear, but there had been a row involving two groups in a pub years earlier.

The victim had been associated with one of the groups and O'Connell with the other.

The judge noted that the ringing of a doorbell creates panic for the victim's family. The children, who had witnessed the attack, now suffer night terrors and anxiety.

He also noted that O'Connell had 65 previous convictions, including one for rape and two for assault causing harm. He had spent several years in prison.

The court previously heard that O'Connell was in remission from testicular cancer, something the judge described as "a wake-up call".

He said the appropriate sentence for the crime was 16 years. However, after taking his guilty plea into account, he imposed a sentence of 12 years, backdating it to May 2, 2016.

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