A young woman working in a shop in Cork city found herself getting phone calls over a period of 13 months from a complete stranger who also told her he wanted to have sex with her.
Craig O’Neill, aged 21, of 11 Curraheen Crescent, Bishopstown, Cork, pleaded guilty to harassment on dates between November 4, 2017, and December 2, 2018.
“He apologised. He did not realise he was causing the injured party distress,” defence solicitor, Donal Daly, said.
Sergeant John Kelleher said that the young woman left her job at one shop where she was receiving numerous phone calls from the accused.
However, sometime after she commenced working at another store, calls started coming through for “the blonde girl” and a description was given of the dress she was wearing.
Sgt Kelleher said that staff at this store were all notified about the unwanted phone calls being made to their new colleague and the young woman who was being harassed felt very distressed that the harassment was continuing at her new job.
The defendant also tried to ‘friend’ her through Facebook, Sgt Kelleher said.
The harassment went on for 12 months from November 2017 to December 2018.
Gardaí were able to identify him through his phone and they showed the complainant a photograph of him. On one occasion she saw this young man on his phone in the shop where she was working.
Mr Daly, solicitor, said there was no real subterfuge in the sense that Craig O’Neill had used his own phone.
Mr Daly said:
The solicitor said the young man was doing well in employment and his employer spoke highly of him. Mr Daly said the young man had been totally at a loss following the death of his mother on whom he depended.
Judge Kelleher said he would not read out the victim impact statement but he said it was chilling the effect that this harassment had on the young woman over a period of 13 months.
Even though the defendant did not know where she lived she felt that he might find out given that he had discovered her new place of employment. She stated in the victim impact statement that she was pulling the blinds and locking the doors at her home because of the fear she had.
Judge Kelleher adjourned sentencing until October 2 so that a probation report could be prepared on the accused.
The young man wrote a letter of apology which he gave to the gardaí.
Mr Daly said:
“He liked her and he wanted a date. He picked her out of the blue. He did not know her from Adam.”
It was on the second phone call to her that made an obscene remark to the effect that he wanted to have sexual intercourse with her.
Various calls were made to her including several in November 2017, more calls in July 2018 and he entered the shop where she worked on August 5, 2018. On December 2 he made a friend request on Facebook.
Sergeant John Kelleher asked for an order to be made that the accused would make no further contact with the young woman.
Judge Kelleher made that order. Mr Daly said the accused had no problem with that.
Source: Full Feed