Man who trespassed at home of U2 drummer told gardai he would infect them with HIV

Larry Mullen
Larry Mullen

A JUDGE has adjourned sentencing a Dublin man who was found guilty of trespassing at the home of U2 drummer Larry Mullen.

Dublin District Court has heard that Gerard O'Neill, 31, was armed with a golf club and threatened gardai he would infect them with HIV.

O'Neill, of Orchid House, James Street, Dublin 8, was “foaming at the mouth” when he resisted arrest and threatened the officers who responded to a 6am report of intruders on the grounds of the drummer's home.

He had been found guilty in May of trespassing at Claremont Lodge, Claremont Road, Howth, north Co. Dublin in such a manner as to cause fear in another person, on October 19 last. 

The 31-year-old was also found guilty on other charges in connection with the incident: resisting arrest and production of a golf club as a weapon capable of causing injury. And he was also  guilty of failing to appear in court on three occasions, the court held.

Today Judge Ann Ryan adjourned sentencing him and ordered that the case would resume in three weeks.  A decision is awaited on whether a suspended sentence O'Neill had would be activated as a result of this incident. 

Judge Ann Ryan heard he had 55 prior criminal convictions and has remanded him in custody.

Judge Ryan has also deferred ruling on the remaining charge of threatening to kill or cause serious harm to Garda Stephen Donnelly and Garda Aishling O'Neill who caught him at Larry Mullen's property.

During the trial earlier, security guard, Dan Suchan, has told the judge the entrance to Claremont Lodge has a sign warning “trespassers will be prosecuted” and saying “private”. He was in the security hut and heard a beep from a motion sensor and looked at his CCTV monitor to see a man in bushes and a woman was also present.

He went out and tried to speak to the them but after getting no response he called gardai. He said it was dark and he had concerns property would be damaged, a fire started or somebody would be “jumped”.

Gda Stephen Donnelly said he arrived with Gda Aishling O'Neill and they walked from the security hut to the main road to look for the intruders.

They noticed bags on the road and thought they belonged O'Neill whom they had encountered earlier in Howth village.

He said O'Neill came out of bushes and “he had a golf club which he held aloft” He feared O'Neill would use it as a weapon against him and his colleague and yelled at him several times to drop the club.

“I had to draw my official baton,” he had said. Gda Donnelly said that eventually O'Neill put it down.

The gardai then noticed O'Neill's partner emerging and she was arrested.

At this point O'Neill became aggressive and “threatened to kill gardai”. Gda Donnelly said O'Neill shouted shouted, “I've HIV and threatened to spit at us and bite us to infect us”.

Gda Aishling O'Neill said he was “foaming at the mouth” from “sheer anger” and she did not believe he was under the influence of any intoxicant at the time.

The gardai told the court there was a struggle and they restrained him against a wall. They had to keep his face away from them because he continued to say he would infect them by biting them.

Gda Aishling O'Neill also said she was in fear when he had the golf club held high and when he “looked at me straight in the eye”.

Two more officers arrived to help in the arrest and he was taken to Clontarf station in a garda van, the court has heard.