‘I got locked up for touching a woman’s breast that’s f***ing it. It is the second time it happened, that’s it, I’m not talking about it anymore.’
Shane Byrnes (32) from Limerick, who is regularly spotted busking in his hometown, served an 18-month prison sentence for grabbing a woman’s breast.
The frightening incident happened in a hotel gym changing rooms in 2014, where he emerged from the toilet in the ladies’ area.
Despite being described as high-risk of re-offending at his 2016 trial, Byrnes says he is now a changed man and has tried to use social media to kickstart his showbiz career.
But the torrent of “abuse” he has faced forced him to give up on a TikTok account on which he had built up several thousand followers.
Byrnes also has a GoFundMe page which has so far raised €3,500 to record an EP.
The sex-offender also maintains an Instagram account where he posts videos and streams live chats with his followers.
In one recent video he lashed out at “the haters” targeting him: “There’s people saying I’m a paedophile and a rapist. There is no truth in it, absolutely none, that’s it.”
“I got locked up for touching a woman’s breast that’s f***ing it. It is the second time it happened, that’s it, I’m not talking about it anymore.”
“I did my crime, I did the time, trolls f**k yourselves.”
He also played down his offence for which he got an 18 month prison sentence: “Let’s call it as it is, there was no violence used at all, no voices raised.”
He also clarifies in the same video that any woman he might be romantically linked to now would be aware of his past.
“I can be bold still, texting one or two beoirs, you know yourself. But they’d all be well aware of my past, they know what the story is.”
Byrnes openly talks about his recovery from alcoholism and said he is part-motivated by wanting to help others struggling with addiction.
“Anyone out there suffering from addiction – that's what I was doing, helping people and that’s not stopping.”
In reply to a comment from a follower that people will soon forget about targeting him online, he admits that is unlikely.
“I don’t think it will, as long as I’m chasing this music career this isn’t going anywhere, love. It’s looking painfully obvious at this stage, but I don’t care, they ain’t going to stop me as I said.”
“There are people going around with worse crimes than mine and no-one is saying nothing to them.”
He also talks about his plans to get gigs and appear on the bill at music festivals and said he is determined to write more of his own songs.
On his GoFundMe page Byrnes refers to his time in prison but doesn’t mention the nature of his crime.
“I am a singer-songwriter from Limerick, Ireland. I am 32 years old. My passion for music started six years ago when I was in prison.
“I learned to play the guitar and found my voice for singing. In prison, I found a love for writing lyrics and began to write songs.
“I am also a recovering alcoholic and I am now sober six years”.
“Prison and music saved my life. I plan to record an EP of five songs I wrote telling my story. It is not a sob story, it is a story of hope and redemption.”
“I hope to inspire those still struggling from addiction and that through faith in God anything is possible.”
When contacted by the Sunday World, he replied “Sorry I’m not interested.”
In 2016, Limerick Circuit Court was told Byrnes is a danger to women after it was revealed that it was the second time he had carried out an attack on a woman in a hotel gym.
A probation report stated he was at risk of committing a similar offence within 12 months.
Byrnes pleaded guilty to sexual assault at the leisure centre in the Castletroy Park Hotel on April 18, 2014, according to the Limerick Leader.
A garda gave evidence of how a woman went to the changing area where she began to put on a swimsuit.
She heard water being flushed in one of the toilets and then a man came out of the cubicle carrying a duffle bag.
The top of her swimsuit was not fully on and she covered herself with her hand.
The man said “sorry, I thought I was in the lads changing room”.
She then realised he had moved over beside her and his bag brushed off her leg.
Byrnes then put his hand over her shoulder and grabbed the hand covering her front.
Talking about her breasts, he told her “Very nice, let me see them and let me touch them” and he grabbed her.
The victim managed to elbow Byrnes and shouted at him to get away while he stood and stared at her before leaving.
When arrested some months later Byrnes said when he saw the woman either naked or topless, he got turned on and asked her to show him her breasts.
Byrnes told gardai he had gone into the changing area in the hope of finding money to pay for alcohol and that his actions were “spur of the moment.”
Judge Tom O’Donnell said at the time it was the second occasion Byrnes had sexually assaulted a woman in a hotel gym.
He said a probation report indicated that Byrnes was at high risk of reoffending and moderate risk of carrying out another sexual assault within 12 months.
He said Byrnes failed to complete a course to deal with his sexual offending.
Judge O’Donnell ordered Byrnes’ name be placed on the sex offenders register for 10 years.