Dublin man threatened to "chop up" his sister over house dispute

Arrest: O’Brien arrived at Ms Dunne’s home with an axe but was stopped going into the house
Arrest: O’Brien arrived at Ms Dunne’s home with an axe but was stopped going into the house

A man who threatened to “chop up” his sister and any member of her family that “gets in my way” because of a dispute over the sale of their family home has been sentenced to four years.

Darran O’Brien (35) rang his niece looking for her mother Patricia Dunne and threatened to “chop her (Patricia’s) hand off so she won’t be able to drink another pint”. He said he was coming to the woman’s home for “her blood” and if anyone got in his way he would “chop them all up”.

O’Brien said he didn’t care if the woman’s grandchildren were there and that he didn’t know when he was coming over but he would “surprise them”.

He then texted Patricia Dunne and said “Me fighting with my wife and kids over you. I am out for your blood, you fucker…. I’ll do poxy jail for you… you be prepared”

O’Brien later arrived at Ms Dunne’s home with an axe but was stopped going into the house by another daughter.

That same evening he threatened to kill any garda who came into his home after his partner called officers to come to the house because she was concerned for O’Brien’s welfare.

O’Brien was armed with both a hammer and a knife at the time and gardaí eventually called in a specialist garda negotiator in an attempt to bring the incident to a close.

Dublin Circuit Criminal Court  heard that O’Brien had been affected by both the proposed sale of his mother’s home and the recent death of his brother. It was the first anniversary of that man’s death today.

O’Brien of Hillview Estate, Ballinteer, Dublin pleaded guilty to threatening to kill his sister and production of an axe at Cushlawn Park, Tallaght on May 31, 2014.

He also admitted threatening to kill gardaí and production of a kitchen knife and hammer at his own home later that same evening.

O’Brien has 67 previous convictions including theft, forgery, use of a false instrument, posession of firearms, possession of drugs, handling stolen property and road traffic offences.

Judge Martin Nolan said the dispute arose out of the family’s plan to sell the home in which O’Brien, his partner and children had been living.

“This caused him some inconvenience and was a source of anger which was then directed at his sister,” Judge Nolan said before he added that O’Brien issued “explicit, violent and aggressive threats”.

He sentenced him to four years in prison and suspended the last 18 months on strict conditions including that he engage with the Probation Supervision for 18 months upon his release. Ms Dunne stated in a victim impact report that was left scared and frightened and was a nervous wreck from her brother’s behaviour.

She said she couldn’t forgive him for threatening her grandchildren and said she may not have been able to write the victim impact statement had it not been for her daughter stopping him attacking her.

Ms Dunne stated that it was about time O’Brien grew up and took responsibility for his actions.

“It’s never your fault,” she said before she added that she was not willing to take a chance on him and she couldn’t let him away with this.

Justin McQuade BL, defending, said his client is a father of three and his partner has an older child from an earlier relationship. .

Counsel said the decision to sell the family home was going to cause O’Brien’s family huge difficulties. 

Sonya McLean