Man paid €20 to put pipe bomb under prison officer's car gets five years in jail

By Jessica Magee

A man who was paid €20 to put a pipe bomb under a prison officer's car has been sentenced to five years in jail.

The officer's eight-year-old son discovered the improvised device, which luckily could not explode as it had no fuse, the court heard.

Mark O'Shea (32), of no fixed abode, pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to possessing the pipe bomb at an address in Marino on June 11 this year.

The court heard that prison officer had CCTV installed at his house which helped identify the culprit.

Passing sentence today, Judge Martin Nolan said putting a pipe bomb under a car was a very serious matter.

He said if O'Shea had thought about it, he would have realised that such a device could cause death or serious harm and could be handled by children or other innocent parties.

Judge Nolan said he had no doubt O'Shea was “preyed upon” by other parties who took advantage of his vulnerability and asked him to deposit the pipe bomb.

He said O'Shea was remorseful and had not known that the house belonged to a prison officer.

But, Judge Nolan added that O'Shea was not aware that the device had no fuse, and so as far as he was concerned, he was putting a pipe bomb under a car.

Detective Sergeant Liam Donoghue told Antonia Boyle BL, prosecuting, that the eight-year-old boy had been playing in his front garden with his dog on the day in question.

The boy told his grandmother that there was a pipe in the garden; she handed it to her husband, who then gave it to the prison officer.

The prison officer said he got a fright when he saw ball-bearings coming out of the pipe and contacted gardaí.

The family were told to leave the house, which was cordoned off while the bomb disposal team arrived and disposed of the device.

O'Shea was identified on CCTV placing something under the car the night before.

The court heard O'Shea and another man had been stopped by gardaí shortly before he put the item under the car; further CCTV footage from around Marino showed O'Shea throwing away a bag before gardaí approached and retrieved it afterwards.

Gardaí arrested O'Shea at Marino Mart three days later for possession of explosives. He confessed all and said he'd been asked by two "fellas "(sic) to put the pipe bomb under a car at a certain address, and was told he was going to get €20 and a tray of tablets.

O'Shea has 25 previous convictions, all described as relatively minor and from the District Court.

Luigi Rea BL, defending, told the court that his client had “succumbed to the temptation of easy money” and the offer of tablets which would have fed his chronic drug addiction.

Mr Rea said his client had a long history of addiction to alcohol, pills and heroin but was now clean of methadone and all illicit drugs.

He said although €20 was a paltry sum to most people, it meant a lot to O'Shea at the time.

A governor's report said O'Shea was working in prison.

His five-year-sentence was backdated to June 14, when he went into custody.

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