Pensioner couple accused of harassing neighbour

Martin and Ann McLaughlin at the Ennis courthouse yesterday, where they deny all charges against them.

A couple in their 60s who are married with seven grown-up children yesterday went on trial for harassing their younger neighbour over a six-year period.

As part of the case against 67-year-old Martin McLaughlin, he is accused of threatening to kill his 41-year-old neighbour, Ray Crowley, on two separate occasions.

Both Mr McLaughlin and his wife Ann, aged 65, of Ballymaconna, Barefield, Ennis, Co Clare, deny all charges laid against them.

Opening the trial at Ennis Circuit Court yesterday, Stephen Coughlan, for the State, said the McLaughlins live on one side of Ray and Patricia Crowley, with some McLaughlin children living on the other side.

The court was told that a number of McLaughlin children live away from Barefield and Ennis.

Mr Coughlan said evidence would be heard that Mr McLaughlin threatened to kill Mr Crowley on two occasions.

Mr Coughlan said that in relation to the first incident, on March 19, 2010, the jury will hear evidence that Mr McLaughlin made a threat to Mr Crowley: “I will get my lads to beat the shit out of you and bury you in that fucking wall.”

Mr Coughlan said that Mr Crowley asked Mr McLaughlin was he threatening his life, to which Mr McLaughlin replied: “Yes, I fucking am.”

Mr Coughlan said there was a meeting between the parties on September 24, 2011, and Mr McLaughlin is alleged to have told Mr Crowley: “Fuck off or I’ll kill you,” counsel said that was said in the presence of an independent witness.

The McLaughlins are each charged with the harassment of their neighbours from October 1, 2006, to March 31, 2012.

A jury of seven women and five men was selected yesterday, and the trial — which is due to last three days — continues today.


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