Man who told office staff member he would ‘blow her head off’ gets jail

Partners at Law Solicitors
Partners at Law Solicitors

A man who made threats to a member of staff at a solicitor's office has been jailed for two and a half years.

Staff at the office told gardaí Joseph McKeon (41) was saying “crazy stuff” and threatened one woman that he would “break her jaw and blow her head off.” He also damaged a door.

Garda Joseph Bell agreed with prosecuting counsel that McKeon's assertions about money belonging to him in relation to a claim appeared to be a figment of his imagination.

McKeon, of Rockford Park, Blackrock, Dublin pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to making a threat a threat to kill or cause serious harm and damaging a door at Partners at Law Solicitors, Adelaide Street, Dun Laoighaire on December 12, 2015. He has eight previous convictions.

Judge Karen O'Connor said the offences had no doubt been distressing and frightening and noted the woman threatened had been vulnerable and carrying out her lawful employment at the time.

She imposed a three and a half year sentence and suspended the final year on strict conditions. She ordered he be given credit for time he has already spent in custody.

Judge O'Connor also ordered that he stay away from the injured party and the offices of the firm.

Gda Bell told Lorcan Staines BL, prosecuting, that McKeon attended at the offices in December 2015 with a cheque for refund for bail money which was out of date.

It was suggested to him that he go to the Court Service to have it re-issued and he became angry.

He kicked a door breaking the security lock and threatened a female member of staff that he would break her jaw and blow off her head.

Gardai were alerted and the threats were confirmed by a number of staff who also reported McKeon had been saying “crazy stuff.”

The following January the same member of staff was returning to work after lunch and encountered McKeon in the street. She kept walking and did not make eye contact.

McKeon began shouting at her and she went into a pharmacy to get away from him.

McKeon continued shouting about “his money” and told her that if she did not withdraw her statement about the earlier incident she “would know what for.”

In February 2016 McKeon attended again at the firm's offices shouting about money belonging to him.

The woman he had threatened previously attempted to calm him while other staff pressed a panic button. He has been in custody since his arrest.

Gda Bell said McKeon said a lot of things during garda interview that did not make sense but accepted he had said things that the woman would find worrying.

He agreed with defence counsel, Brian Storan BL, that McKeon had a remorseful attitude over the course of the interview.

Mr Storan said McKeon had been intoxicated and in financial difficulty at the time of the offences. He said his client had struggled with addiction in the past but was addressing his issues.

He said his client's father had died during McKeon's time in custody and he had been unable to attend the funeral which was very difficult for him.

He asked the court to take into account the time he has already spent in custody.