NewsCrime Desk

Violent rapist walks free after serving time for brutal robbery

Crime DeskBy Eamon Dillon
Scumbag: Thomas O'Neill is free
Scumbag: Thomas O'Neill is free

ONE of Limerick’s most notorious criminals walked free from jail this weekend after finishing his latest sentence for a violent robbery.

There are fears that the Cratloe Woods rapist Thomas O’Neill will cause mayhem in the city after clashing with other violent gangsters. His girlfriend April Collins left her partner, gang boss Ger Dundon, for O’Neill as the Dundon gang fell apart.
With both men now free and back on the streets, there are genuine fears of serious violence in Limerick, with both having personal scores they would like to settle.
“He’ll cause trouble, there’s no doubt about that,” a source told the Sunday World this week.
The 28-year-old Limerick criminal walked out of the Midlands Prison this weekend after being given a three-and-a-half-year sentence for robbery. 
Although he was serving time for robbery, he spent his time inside with other sex offenders thanks to his conviction for the infamous Cratloe Woods rape case, in which he was singled out as the ringleader.
He led a group, despite being just 16 years old at the time, which attacked a couple in their car in the wooded area in 2004. The 36-year-old man was savagely assaulted and threatened with being killed as they took turns to rape the woman.
One man, Stephen Barry, was aged 25 at the time, but three of the others were 16 and one was just 14. 
During the couple’s ordeal, the man was taunted, with one of gang saying: “We’re raping your bird.” 
The horrific assault ended when the man managed to kick himself out of the car boot and fought the attackers, leaving one of the teenagers in need of hospital treatment.
After O’Neill’s release from the subsequent jail sentence, he began a relationship with April Collins, whose partner Ger Dundon (pictured above) was in jail at the time in 2011.
April Collins became a key prosecution witness in the prosecutions of Wayne and John Dundon in two separate murder cases. When Ger Dundon learned of April’s relationship with O’Neill he smashed up his prison cell and had to be transferred to another jail.
Until recently, Collins had been under Garda protection, but that was withdrawn because she deliberately gave officers the slip several times, according to sources.
O’Neill’s latest sentence was for a violent robbery in Limerick. He and another man forced a man in his 40s into an alleyway and robbed him while he was held up against a wall.