Man jailed after harassing family over ‘a purported drug debt’

by Gazette Reporter

A man who harassed a family and demanded money from them over “a purported drug debt” supposedly owed by their son has been jailed for 18 months.

Ben O’Leary, 20, first called to the family home in Templeogue, Dublin on December 11, 2018 and claimed that their son owed him €6,000 which he said must be paid by the following Friday.

He told the father that he would have to pay and suggested he get a credit union loan or use his savings.

O’Leary told the man he “wouldn’t want to get his windows broken” or have his car taken. The man said that O’Leary used a normal tone, rather than an aggressive one, as he made the demands.

On a later occasion he called again to the house but he was recognised on the home security cameras and they called the gardaí.

Dublin Circuit Criminal Court heard that a number of calls were made to the family’s home. On one occasion the mother was pursued and told: “He (son) is going to end up dead. I will kill him. I will put a bullet in him.”

O’Leary he was identified from the security cameras. He made no admissions but claimed that the son owed him €300 and he had called at the house to get it.

O’Leary of Ballinteer Gardens, Ballinteer pleaded guilty to harassment between December 2018 and January 2019. He also admitted making an unwarranted demand for cash on December 11, 2018.

Judge Melanie Greally sentenced him to three years in prison with the final 18 months suspended and ordered that he have no contact with the injured parties or their family for seven years.

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