A plumber with Dublin City Council who threatened to put a bullet in the head of two work colleagues has received a fully suspended sentence.
Married father-of-two Gary Kelly (41), of Glenville Road, Castleknock, Dublin , had severe mental health issues at the time of the offences in January, 2018 and believed that he was being followed by “drones, ISIS and other organisations”.
When gardaí came to arrest him at his family home, his wife informed them that she had been concerned about the state of his mental health for some time.
Kelly first pleaded guilty in July, 2018 to threatening to kill or cause serious harm to John Maher and Brian Fitzpatrick. However, sentencing was subsequently adjourned on a number of occasions pending the completion of a probation report.
Today the report was presented to Judge Melanie Greally at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court by Pieter Le Vert BL, defending.
In sentencing Kelly, Judge Greally noted that the injured parties in the case had been subjected “to immensely frightening threats” which they had perceived to be real and which had lasting effects on them both. While both men had worked with Kelly, they had only known him to see.
In both cases Kelly had told the victims they would “get a bullet”. Neither of the men had had any previous interactions with the defendant.
The arresting garda in the case, Garda Micheál Muldoon, had said he felt there was a mental health issue with Kelly from the outset due to his “outright denial” of the offences despite the strong evidence against him.
At a previous sentence hearing, Mr Le Vert told the court that Kelly had been diagnosed with depression about two years ago and been put on medication. He started drinking around the same time and “matters went out of control”.
“He reported drones following him and had issues that ISIS and other organisations were following him,” counsel said.
“The accused comes before the court with no history of offending behaviour, while this episode appears to have coincided with a mental health breakdown in the form of psychosis triggered by stresses within the home and his professional life, together with an ever increasing dependency on alcohol,” Judge Greally said.
She said that Kelly came from a supportive and loving family, as evidenced by a “well composed” letter to the court from his wife of 23 years. He had reiterated that he was not in the “right frame of mind” at the time of the incident and “very much regrets” the impact he had had on the victims and his own family.
The judge reflected, however, that the difficulty with Kelly was that he had been “very slow to confront a mental health issue which requires to be monitored and needs vigilance in taking medication and an alertness to any sign of a deterioration”.
She said that the probation report stated Kelly had no psychotic symptoms at present and that he had complied with all the conditions of his bail, adding that the probation service could “play a useful role” in monitoring his ongoing behaviour.
The judge said that the appropriate sentence for both counts was three years given the severity of the threats that had been made.
However, she said that had to credit that the offences were entirely out of character for Kelly, his supportive family, the fact he was a skilled and talented plumber whose work had been greatly in demand and the mental health aspect to the events, together with the recommendations of the probation report.
Judge Greally said she would suspend the three year sentence entirely provided Kelly enter into a bond to keep the peace, attended all appointments with his mental health clinic, and was of good behaviour under three years supervision.
She added that he is to have no contact whatsoever with either Mr Maher or Mr Fitzgerald or any member of their families for three years.