Apr 14, 2021

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 OConnor from Hillside, Cappagh, Kinsale, County Cork.The 67-year-old has spent the past two months in custody pending sentence.
Donal OSullivan 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.
Acts of destruction
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 OMahony, 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 OMahony.
Ms OMahony testified at Cork Circuit Criminal Court that OConnor 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.
Never-ending nightmare
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 OMahonys 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.