Prolific sex beast racked up 1,000 offences against young boys
This is child abuser Patrick O’Brien enjoying his last hours of freedom.
Hours after we confronted him he was taken into custody, having pleaded guilty to sexually abusing 14 separate victims.
A Sunday World investigation has exposed the St Patrick’s Cathedral volunteer as one of Ireland’s most prolific child sex beasts, with more than 1,000 offences to his name in a reign of abuse spanning more than 40 years.
The sports car enthusiast was once a pillar of the community and was a volunteer at Dublin’s St Patrick’s Cathedral – but today he is behind bars awaiting sentencing for his vile crimes.
The three books of evidence against him are so lengthy that two days have been put aside by the courts to hear the details of how he sexually assaulted boys in his upmarket home in Knocklyon, in a shed on the northside of the capital, at hotels in Co. Mayo and Limerick and at locations in Wexford, Laois and at Dublin Industrial Estate.
O’Brien targeted boys who had just hit puberty and showered them with gifts for their silence.
To friends he was a kindly gentleman who held a top post in an engineering firm and who volunteered in community groups and at the Protestant cathedral, but he used the groups as a place to groom his prey and has been accused of a range of serious sex crimes.
O’Brien is expected to be sentenced later this year and the 75-year-old has told friends that he is not looking forward to his stint in prison.
The pensioner always kept his home pristine and tended his gardens. Up until a few years ago he also held the prestigious role of Chairman of the MG Enthusiasts Club of Ireland (MGEC).
There, he was nicknamed ‘Bluebird Man’ by his victims, because of the expensive classic cars he always drove. When the Sunday World caught up with him last week he was driving a Jaguar.
We were watching as he got into his car and headed into the city centre, where he had an appointment near Francis Street, in Dublin’s south inner-city.
When we approached him he was polite and told us that he was enjoying his last days of freedom, but when quizzed about his crimes, the slightly-framed man took off at speed down the road, trying to cover his face with his arms.
A source close to one of O’Brien’s victims said that he targeted the victim when he was 13 and continued to abuse him for a number of years at his home.
He bought him expensive gifts, including a bicycle, to pay for his silence.
“In the early 1980s he lived in Drimnagh and he would give people lifts to St Patrick’s Cathedral. He always came across as pleasant and soft-spoken. He would befriend the parents of children from the Church of Ireland and often fund-raised for the cathedral,” he said.
His cover was blown when one young man told his parents of the abuse and an investigation was launched. However, no charges were brought against him at that point.
He continued to work for the church and other community groups and after his retirement about six years ago he concentrated his efforts on his favourite hobby – classic cars.
O’Brien organised events for the MGEC in the U.K. and across Ireland. A source said a text was sent to members of the club on July 29, 2013, warning them there was an alleged child sex offender in the group.
It read: “Hi. I am just writing to you in relation to Pat [Patrick O’Brien]. He is a convicted paedophile and has a number of further outstanding cases that are being investigated.
“It is important that you let everybody know to protect the children and also the good standing of the MG Club. This is not a malicious text, but a real warning.”
The club soon cut ties with him, in the same way that St Patrick’s Cathedral had some 10 years previously.
This week, when quizzed, O’Brien insisted that he did not know the paedophile Eamon Cooke, who was the same age as him and shared his interest in classic cars.
It is understood that at least one victim has told the Gardaí that he had a friend who also abused him, although the man was not Cooke.
O’Brien was a loner and never married. Most of his family live abroad, although he does have a brother in Dublin. He has told acquaintances that he is worried his victims, or the courts, will go after his house as compensation, and he had been planning to place it in trust to keep it at arm’s length from them.
He is not the first paedophile to use classic cars as a lure for children. Criminologist John O’Keefe says vehicles are often used to draw children.
“Never underestimate the draw of a flash car to a child. Multiple child sex offender Jimmy Savile drove a Rolls Royce, paedophile DJ Jonathan King drove a €2.7 million Bugatti and Eamon Cooke drove a Jaguar.
“This is part of the grooming process for already vulnerable, bored and uninspired youth. In Cooke’s case, the Jaguar became his calling card around Dublin – a moving metaphor for his utter evil.”
Details of O’Brien’s catalogue of crimes are due to be heard in October before sentencing.