Autumn sun for sender of pig’s head

The Dubliner who sent a pig’s head to the home of a Garda and his wife is set to be out of jail in time to get some autumn sun in Spain.

This follows Judge Gerald Keys yesterday imposing a two-year jail term on Brendan Mahoney, aged 48, for sending the pig’s head to the home of Garda Paul Heaslip and his wife, Natalie O’Neill, in January 2012.

As a result of receiving the rotting head — which was also split down the middle— the frightened couple were forced to leave behind their life in west Clare.

In his sentencing, Judge Keys said he would suspend the final year and backdate the two-year term to January 8 of this year, when Mahoney was taken into custody in Spain.

RELATED: Man denies sending a pig’s head to garda

Mahoney, of 74 Cabra Park, Dublin 7, skipped bail in June 2013 and remained in Spain where he worked as a barman. His counsel, Breffni Gordon BL told the court Spain was where Mahoney was happiest and as soon as his time in prison is complete, he intended to leave Ireland.

The sentence imposed yesterday means that Mahoney could return to Spain by September or October.

A jury last month found Mahoney guilty.

Judge Keys said the couple were “profoundly affected” by getting the head in the post.

In evidence, Sgt Ronan O’Hara said Garda Heaslip and his wife, a teacher, asked for job transfers away from west Clare after receiving the head on January 30, 2012.

RELATED: Garda’s wife tells of horror of getting pig’s head in post

He said: “As a result of this, Natalie had to leave her teaching job in the area. She was in fear to go to work on her own or to be in the house on her own, so Garda Heaslip would have to be with her at all times.

“They ended up having to leave the accommodation that they were in… It caused enormous stress to a young couple starting off in life.”

In the trial, Ms O’Neill said she was was “afraid”, “disgusted”, and “horrified” when she saw a box delivered to her home containing a severed pig’s head.

RELATED: ‘It’s only a pig’s head, not a human head’

The State presented CCTV evidence of Mahoney at Prussia St Post Office in Dublin with the box sent to Garda Heaslip.

Sgt O’Hara said Garda Heaslip got the pig’s head after accompanying members from another agency within the gardaí to see Mahoney. Sgt O’Hara said “wrong place, wrong time”.

Before Judge Keys imposed sentence yesterday, Mr Gordon read out an apology from Mahoney to the couple

It read: “I apologise for my actions in sending the head to Garda Paul Heaslip and his wife, Natalie O’Neill, and the stress caused to them as a result of my actions.”

RELATED: Garda moved house after getting pig’s head in post

Mahoney told the court that he accepted the jury’s verdict and that he had no intention of appealing the sentence.

Garda Heaslip declined to comment after court.

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