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Poison pen Kilkenny pensioner (76) who sent 'semen' stained letters to RTE star jailed for two years

Pensioner is sentenced to two years after harassing presenter with barrage of post because he wanted station to play his music

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Anthony Lennon also sent ‘hundreds’ of emails to the woman.

Anthony Lennon also sent ‘hundreds’ of emails to the woman.

Anthony Lennon also sent ‘hundreds’ of emails to the woman.

An OAP who harassed an RTE star by sending her 11 letters stained with his 'semen' told the Sunday World: "I was just trying to get them to play my music."

Anthony Lennon of Ballyragget, Co Kilkenny was jailed for two years and barred from ever having contact with the presenter again after he pleaded guilty to two counts of harassment and 11 counts of sending the young presenter obscene items by post.

The 76-year-old, who was given two weeks to get his affairs in order before he has to hand himself in, told us it was never his intention to upset the young presenter.

And he said he was shocked when Judge James McCourt jailed him for two years.

"I just feel in a lot of ways I did not get a fair hearing at all," Lennon told the Sunday World.

"Everyone's stunned - even my barristers were stunned."

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Anthony Lennon asks our reporter Patrick O’Connell
if he will pass on a CD of his music to his victim

Anthony Lennon asks our reporter Patrick O’Connell if he will pass on a CD of his music to his victim

Anthony Lennon asks our reporter Patrick O’Connell if he will pass on a CD of his music to his victim

Asked whether he'd intended to upset the young RTE star, Lennon responded: "No, absolutely not, absolutely not.

"I didn't tell any lies and I put my hands up.

"I just think I'm going to have to go through it now [jail] and that's it."

Kilkenny Circuit Court heard Lennon initially contacted the presenter by email in 2016.

In the initial correspondence, Lennon's tone was very familiar and he said he wanted to send her his music.

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She wanted to be polite and told him to send it to her work office - but she did not work in a music department of RTE and there was nothing she could do.

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Lennon was given two weeks to get his affairs in order

Lennon was given two weeks to get his affairs in order

Lennon was given two weeks to get his affairs in order

Lennon sent her another email and the presenter replied.

At the start his emails were the words "looking for a wife" which the presenter found disquieting.

She stopped reading the emails.

A significant number of emails followed - with the totality of the emails amounting to 220 printed pages.

Then, on July 11, 2019, the presenter became aware that a "suspicious" letter addressed to her had been received at the RTE studios in Dublin.

It was addressed to her personally and seemed to contain "bodily fluid."

It was sent for forensic analysis.

A second letter was received on August 7, 2019, a third on August 8 and another five letters on August 10 - all of which were stained with "bodily fluid."

After being notified of the letters, gardai called to Lennon, cautioned him and told him to refrain from further communication.

The court heard the presenter had told gardai she wanted Lennon to stop but was in favour of a "graduated response" at that stage.

Lennon acknowledged he sent the letters and said it was an effort to have his music played on RTE.

He said he had already sent another letter which arrived at RTE on September 10.

On September 19 three further letters, again stained with Lennon's semen, arrived at her parents' home.

After the letters to her parents' home, the presenter decided to make a formal complaint to gardai.

On December 2, 2019, gardai obtained a warrant to search Lennon's home.

A number of items were seized, including written notes in a notebook and an envelope addressed to the presenter.

Lennon cooperated with gardai, he confirmed the presenter was not known to him personally but said he knew her as a presenter with an interest in music and the arts, and as a good looking girl.

He admitted sending "hundreds" of emails, mostly about Brexit negotiations and the agenda he saw RTE advancing. He said he had strong views.

He said his letters contained poetry and lyrics of songs he wished to have published.

Lennon told gardai he was aware there was an inclusion of semen but thought it was only on three letters.

When asked why he did this, Lennon said he was frustrated he was getting no response and wanted to provoke a reaction.

He said he was sorry and he shouldn't have sent them.

In a victim impact statement the presenter said as a 'minor public figure' she accepted some level of nuisance but Mr Lennon's actions went beyond what was reasonable.

She said he was a man who needed help but he refused to do that and "persisted with his campaign of disgusting letters."

The presenter said she had no desire for an elderly man to go to prison on her account but it disturbed her he had already defied instructions not to contact her.

She appealed to him to "leave me and my family in peace."

The court heard that Lennon is 76 and from a farming background.

His wife died several years ago and he found this traumatic.

Judge James McCourt said Lennon knew what he was doing and he knew it was wrong.

"You did harass this woman over a protracted period," he said.

What aggravated the situation was that Lennon persisted when asked to stop.

"Harassment of this nature is a horrible violation of someone's personal space," the judge said.

Judge McCourt said the appropriate sentence for harassment was three years imprisonment, with the final year suspended on condition that Lennon engages fully with the psychiatric and psychological services.

If he does that, then Mr Lennon will be bound to the peace for two years, on his own bond of €2,000, following his release.

On the 11 postal offences Judge McCourt imposed a one-year sentence on each charge, suspended on the same terms.

Judge McCourt said it was all very well to contact a broadcaster to vent and air one's grievances with their product or output, but to contact one, single person in this way can be seen as an obsession.

Mr Lennon was ordered to have no contact with the presenter or any members of her family, at any time, for any reason whatsoever "forever."

Judge McCourt asked that the anonymity of the victim be protected.

Asked by the Sunday World whether he believed he deserved to be jailed, Lennon responded: "No, I don't think the infringement fits that.

"I would think I would even have sympathisers even within RTE.

"She [the victim] said herself that she didn't want to bring the case forward.

"She wanted it dropped and left like that.

"And I actually have a CD of songs that I've just actually done … you wouldn't be able to give them to her?"

Our reporter informed Lennon that he could not do so - as Lennon is barred from having any contact whatsoever with his victim for life.

"I just thought it would be proof that I was trying to get my work done," he said, "and my music heard and that was basically the avenue I was going through and persevering with.

"I'm not 21 years of age any more and I just felt I had a collection put together.

"I feel that they paid no heed whatsoever to that side of what I was trying to promote."

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