'Terrifying' | 

Brother of convicted IRA man in alleged threat to 'burn down' car dealer's home

Kinsella cleared of trespass with intent but court told he allegedly threatened woman after husband had been given threat to life message by gardai

Richie Kinsella at Dun Laoghaire Court

Patrick O'Connell

A "terrifying" assault by convicted IRA member Nathan Kinsella on car dealer Oisin Legaspi was alleged in court this week as Kinsella's brother Richie stood trial on a trespass charge at Legaspi's home.

Mr Legaspi, the court heard, had previously been served by gardai with an official Garda Information Message (G.I.M) of a threat against his life, which Garda Donal Tully told the court emanated from Nathan Kinsella.

During a 90-minute hearing at Dun Laoghaire District Court - at the end of which Richie Kinsella (45) of Dun Brin, Athy was acquitted of trespass - an allegation was also made by Oisin Legaspi's wife Deborah that Richie Kinsella had threatened her: "I'll burn your house down."

Richie Kinsella emphatically denied ever making this threat and also rejected the claim of trespass, saying he had called to the Legaspis' home as he was 'owed €30,000' by Oisin arising from an 'investment' in his car business.

Appearing before the court under the name Seosamh O Bhraion, Richie Kinsella was charged with trespass with intent to commit an offence at the Legaspis' home, which they share with two young sons, on October 31, 2020.

Garda Tully, an officer based at Dundrum garda station, said he was on duty attached to the Divisional Burglary Response Unit at 2.20am that day when he was despatched to a call at the Legaspi home.

"All members in the district," he said, "including myself had been given a direction to treat all calls to that address as urgent because gardai had served one of the occupants there with a formal notice that there was a substantial threat to his life and property."

Garda Tully said he was informed en-route "that other units had already arrived and details were circulated of a silver Mercedes jeep it was alleged the suspect had left in."

Garda Tully continued: "I observed this car leaving the vicinity of the crime scene and I pulled it in on the Leopardstown Road.

"I spoke to the driver who identified himself as Seosamh O Bhraion. He confirmed to me that he had been at [the property] but said he had been 'to visit his pal Oisin and he was always welcome at that house'.

Garda Tully said following inquiries he confirmed that Seosamh O Bhraion's given name was Richard Kinsella and that he was the brother of Nathan Kinsella - "the man who the threat against the resident of [the property] emanates."

Richie Kinsella with companions outside court

Garda Tully said he arrested Kinsella on suspicion of trespass and charged him at Dundrum Garda station.

In his evidence, Oisin Legaspi confirmed he was present in the house on October 31, 2020 when Richie Kinsella called to the property.

Asked why he was concerned by the presence of Kinsella, Mr Legaspi responded: "He had previously threatened to burn down my house in a phone call to my wife."

Mr Legaspi said Kinsella had continued 'banging' at the door for four to five minutes before going back to his jeep and sitting it in for a couple of minutes more.

Defence solicitor Mr Lanigan under cross examination asked Mr Legaspi whether it would be a surprise to him his client had been trying to contact him to account for a sum of €30,000 he had invested with him.

Mr Legaspi replied 'yes'.

Oisín Legaspi was told of a threat against his life

In her evidence, Deborah Legaspi said: "We were at home getting the kids ready for Halloween and there was a loud knock at the door.

"I looked out the side of the front door through the glass and I saw Richie Kinsella and I immediately closed the shutters on the window. I proceeded to get the children and I brought them upstairs to the bedroom.

Asked how she knew Mr Kinsella, Ms Legaspi said it was "through my husband - he is a family member to my husband."

Asked why she was afraid of Mr Kinsella, she responded: "Because months prior to that, on a phone call, he had called me to tell me he was going to burn my house down.

"He had phoned me after his brother came to my house and beat up my husband in front of my two boys. That was in February of 2020. He [Nathan Kinsella] came into my house and into my kitchen and he fought my husband in front of me and my two boys.

"So, when his brother left my house he texted me to apologise for what he did to my husband in front of me and my boys, and then he [Richard Kinsella] about 15 minutes later phoned my phone and started talking about his brother coming in and fighting my husband.

"I told him I wasn't dealing with this and I was taping this phone call and he threatened to burn down my house."

Convicted terrorist Nathan Kinsella with Jim Mansfield Jnr

Asked why she hadn't originally given a statement in relation to what happened in October 2020, Ms Legaspi said: "If I give a statement and there are charges and it comes to court then I'm looking over my shoulder even more than I am already.

"I'm terrified of this whole situation and I'm sick of it. I'm terrified. I did not want to be here today.

"I did not want to face him. I did not want to be present in this room."

Taking the stand, Richard Kinsella confirmed he was appearing before the court as Seosamh O Bhraion, but said he was otherwise known as Richard Kinsella.

He said he had called to the house as "I wanted to resolve an outstanding issue concerning a financial situation that I was involved in.

"I was investing the money with Oisin to take the cars out of the UK.

"Oisin was to sell them and we were to split the money. Oisin had only paid me 'x' amount of money and there was an outstanding balance of that money to be paid.

"I couldn't get in contact with Oisin because I was in the UK for over a year. He refused to take any of my calls or answer my texts to him.

"If somebody refuses to answer your calls or texts, you're going to call up to see what the situation is."

Nathan Kinsella

Asked about Ms Legaspi's allegation he had phoned her and threatened to burn down her house, Kinsella replied: "No such thing. I've never threatened a woman in my life. I would never attempt to do that. I have never said anything to Oisin or Deborah."

Asked by Garda Tully about the value of the transaction he claimed was owed to him, Mr Kinsella responded: "About €30,000 minus whatever the mark-up was on the cars that was sold."

Asked if he was aware of a dispute between Oisin Legaspi and his brother Nathan, Richard Kinsella responded: "No, I don't speak to my brother. I wasn't aware of a dispute at the time. I am now. I don't even know the dynamics. I couldn't tell you. I've no interference between the two guys at all.

"I know there's a G.I.M. against him over a threat. That's all I know, Judge.

"I don't know why. I don't speak to my brother and the Legaspis are well aware of that fact as well."

Dismissing the charge, Judge Anne Watkin said the charge was one of trespass with intent to commit a crime. She said she had no evidence to suggest he had intended to commit a crime even if it was accepted he banged on the door.

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