herald

Wednesday 13 December 2017

Sex attacker failed to tell gardai he had moved house

EXCUSE: Abuser says he was busy getting children in school

THIS is the sex attacker who moved house without telling gardai for seven weeks and claimed he "forgot" because he was busy putting his children into another school.

Edward McDonnell (46) avoided jail for breaching sex offenders regulations after a judge gave him a three-month suspended sentence.

Dublin District Court heard McDonnell, who was convicted in October, 2004 for subjecting a woman to a brutal sexual assault, changed address in March.

Weighed

Judge Anthony Halpin said the conviction should have weighed heavily on McDonnell's mind and he did not accept that he forgot.

The accused, of Benmadigan Road in Drimnagh, pleaded guilty at Dublin District Court to failing to notify the gardai of his change of address.

Garda Daniel Connell said the accused had moved from an address in Lucan west Dublin to the address in Drimnagh, but did not tell gardai.

"Seven weeks after he moved into the address, he handed a letter into (his local garda station) informing us of his new address," Garda Connell said.

McDonnell was arrested on May 4 and made an admission when detained and interviewed.

The defendant had 23 previous convictions for theft, fraud and motoring offences. In interview, he told gardai he had forgotten to notify them and said he had been changing his children's school.

"I just want to apologise for putting you to so much trouble," he told gardai. "I'm sorry."

"Between the move itself and the fact that he has six children at home and five of the children were moving school at the time, he got caught up in that," McDonnell's barrister Anne Marie Whelan said.

"He genuinely forgot in the process of moving and moving his children. It was a genuine mistake."

The reason he had changed address was because a person who had been giving his children a lift to school moved out of the area, which was not on a bus route.

The defendant was currently unemployed but had "ambitions" to work as a courier.

Ms Whelan asked Judge Halpin to take into account the fact that McDonnell had been released from prison in 2005 and had only moved five years later.

He had learned the consequences of failing to notify the gardai and was aware that the court could impose a custodial sentence.

Ms Whelan said a suspended sentence would be a motivation for the accused "not to contemplate making the same mistake again".

Society

Judge Halpin remarked that the sexual assault conviction was "not such a long time ago".

"I don't accept that he forgot," the judge said.

"He is entitled to move if he wants but he must notify the gardai and that notification is part of a procedure for the protection of society and he failed to do that."

The court heard the maximum penalty was 12 months imprisonment. Suspending the three-month sentence for a year, the judge said he recognised that it was a serious offence, but he would give McDonnell an opportunity to demonstrate his bona fides to the court.

aphelan@herald.ie

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