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Man released rats in office which destroyed cables and pooed everywhere
October 22, 2021
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A former council employee trapped two rats and released them into a council office, which destroyed cables and left poo everywhere.
John O’Neill, 61, from Glanduff, Kilbrittain, Co Cork in Ireland, has been jailed for six months after pleading guilty to causing criminal damage by releasing the rodents into the offices of Cork County Council on February 9.
According to the defence solicitor, Diarmuid O’Shea, the rats caused around €3,000 (£2,530) worth of damage over a period of four days, by eating through some electrical cables and damaging computer keyboards.
Sgt Paul Kelly said the culprit released the animals after having a grievance with a member of the council management at the Kinsale office, the Irish Times reports.
Staff also had to clean up their faeces from almost every surface in the office every day.
The council brought in pest control to get rid of the rats, but staff were suspicious as to how the rodents gained entry into the office in the first place.
Detective Garda Brosnan obtained CCTV footage which showed O’Neill reversing his van up to the office on the morning of February 9, removing an item from it, which was covered by his jacket, and later emerging with the item again covered up.
O’Neill was arrested on May 24 and admitted to catching and releasing the rats in the office as he claims he had a grievance with a member of the management team there.
He expressed remorse for his actions and co-operated fully with the investigation.
O’Shea said his client deeply regretted his action and was completely out of character for him and marked the culmination of a series of grievances he had with a particular member of the council management.
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Judge James McNulty said that although O’Neill may have had a grievance with a member of the management team there were routes available to him to address that, but he had ignored that option and instead embarked on a course of action that affected not just his target but many council employees.
Although the judge admitted that O’Neill was unlikely to re-offend, given his previous good character, he referred to the offence as one of “unique wickedness” that was premeditated and carefully planned and it merited a custodial sentence to act as a general deterrence.