A 67-year-old man will remain in jail until he comes up with the €13,500 he owes a couple he put through a “living hell” by seriously damaging their Ballinspittle house when he was renting it in hopes of buying it cheap.
The couple described the “living hell” they were put through by the ‘cruel’ behaviour of tenant Denis O’Connor from Hillside, Cappagh, Kinsale, County Cork.
The 67-year-old has spent the past two months in custody pending sentence.
Donal O’Sullivan defence barrister said the accused would be able to raise the full balance from a family friend within a week or two. The amount outstanding is €13,500. Judge Seán Ó Donnabháin remanded him in custody until April 22 for that to be done.
As well as causing an estimated €16,000 in criminal damage by sawing rafters out of the roof and other acts of destruction, he refused to pay rent for 16 months he was in the house. He has repaid €2,500 so far.
The owner of the house, Audrey O’Mahony, said the financial strain due to the lack of rental income from the Ballinspittle house made it hard to meet their own mortgage repayments forcing them to cut back on groceries, clothing and heating.
She said stress ultimately led to her collapse on one day and being rushed by ambulance to hospital.
Judge Sean Ó Donnabháin said he had huge sympathy for Ms O’Mahony.
Ms O’Mahony testified at Cork Circuit Criminal Court that O’Connor damaged the house in an effort to make the property unsellable so they would be forced to sell it to him at a reduced price.
She said the 67-year-old put herself and her husband and family through a never-ending nightmare by what he did from the time he began renting their house from them in 2015.
He pleaded guilty to causing criminal damage to the house by removing roof rafters and damaging floors and various fittings at the O’Mahonys’ property at Duneen, Ballinvredig, Ballinspittle, County Cork, between December 5, 2015 and July 23, 2018.
He also admitted the theft of a fitted kitchen worth €1,000 which he removed from the property to replace with his own kitchen, which he in turn removed when he left, leaving the house without a functioning kitchen.