Court issues arrest warrant for rapist who fled from the North

A bench warrant has been issued by a court in Dublin for the arrest of a convicted rapist who fled from the North and failed to inform gardaí that he had entered the State.

Edward Connors, aged 19, who twice raped an American tourist in Belfast four years ago, was charged at Dublin District Court on Jul 26 with failing to notify the authorities of his name, address, and date of birth, contrary to the Sex Offenders Act 2001.

On Jul 25, he had been arrested at Labre Park in west Dublin, where he had been staying with an aunt.

He made no reply when cautioned. He had conse-nted to being remanded in custody the following day but successfully applied for bail at Cloverhill District Court six days later.

Garda Dave Connolly had objected to bail, saying he believed the youth “would be a flight risk” and did “not normally reside in this country”.

He told the court that “on seeing gardaí he tried to make good his escape” but was arrested after a 600m footchase. Garda Connolly said the teenager had no identification documents and a bench warrant had already been issued for his arrest by a court in the North.

The garda said the prosecution service in the North intended to get a European arrest warrant issued for Connors.

However, Judge John Lindsay granted bail with a number of conditions.

Connors was ordered to reside at a house in Labre Park, obey a curfew there from 10pm to 7am, sign on twice daily at Ballyfermot Garda Station, and provide confirmation that he made contact with the PSNI station at Grosvenor Rd, Belfast, within 14 days.

The judge said Connors would not be able to leave Dublin city or county “other than to attend appointments with members of the PSNI” and would have to give gardaí 48 hours’ notice.

Connors had indic-ated that he understood the terms and he was warned that his bail would be revoked if he broke any of the conditions. He was released and ordered to appear again yesterday at Cloverhill District Court.

However, when his case was called defence solicitor Kelly Breen said she had not seen her client. “He is not here,” she said.

A Garda sergeant also said Connors had “not been complying with any of his bail conditions”.

Judge Lindsay issued a bench warrant for Connors’ arrest.

Cloverhill District Court had already heard that he had served a sentence in the North for offences committed when he was 15, and a warrant issued by the courts there was a result of him breaching probation terms.

Ms Breen had said earlier that Connors had little experience of the consequences of what would occur if he failed to comply with the conditions of his probation and “it was extremely foolish with very serious repercussions”.

The youth has been on the run from police in the North after failing to attend a hearing at Belfast Magistrates’ Court on Jul 16 to face a charge of breaching one of his probation conditions by failing to complete a programme of work to address his sexual offending.

He was 15 when he twice raped a 29-year-old woman in Colin Glen forest in west Belfast four years ago.

Afterwards he fled to Dublin but later gave himself up. In 2009, he was jailed for eight years; he had spent a year in custody on remand prior to his trial and was released from custody earlier this year after serving four years.

Under Irish law he had seven days to notify gardaí that he had entered the jurisdiction and to give a permanent address.

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