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Limerick man jailed for 17 years for raping and forming sexual relationship with teenager

Patrick O’Dea pleaded guilty on the second day of his trial at the Central Criminal Court.
Nov 19th 2018, 12:44 PM 26,145 29

A LIMERICK MAN has been jailed for 17 years after he raped a 13-year-old girl in a graveyard and continued a sexual relationship with her after manipulating her and isolating her from her friends.

Patrick O’Dea, 51, also known as ‘Whacker’, of Pike Avenue, Limerick, pleaded guilty on the second day of his trial at the Central Criminal Court to charges of sexual assault and rape on dates in 1994 and 1995.

His victim Leona O’Callaghan waived her right to anonymity so O’Dea could be named in reporting the case.

In a powerful victim impact statement, she told the court how the traumatic series of events impacted her relationships with her loved ones, and led to three suicide attempts.

The court heard that following the first incident of rape, O’Callaghan sat on a basin of ice in her bedroom to help stop the bleeding and swelling.

O’Dea met with her a few days later and pulled her away from her friends.

He complained that she had gotten blood on his jacket and he said he had to get it dry cleaned.

O’Callaghan later recalled that O’Dea told her that she had bled because she was a virgin and he promised it would not hurt as much the next time.

Older sister

He told her that her “virginity was a wall” and that the bleeding had been “breaking down the wall”.

O’Dea has 42 previous convictions, including a 15-year sentence for multiple rape and sexual assaults of one girl over a six-year period between 1998 and 2004.

Today, Ms Justice Deirdre Murphy said that O’Dea isolated and manipulated the victim, adding that his abuse of her has done enormous damage to her psyche.

Garda Barry Manton told Garnet Orange SC, prosecuting that O’Dea came into contact with O’Callaghan while she was spending time with her older sister and that girl’s friends in the Garryowen area of Limerick.

O’Callaghan later told gardaí that O’Dea “latched himself onto the group” and started to focus on her, giving her special attention.

He first sexually assaulted her at a local waste ground where he touched her breasts after kissing her. He told her he had wanted to “touch them for a long time”.

Mother’s home

O’Dea sexually abused O’Callaghan in a similar way again, before he began to worry that they may be seen together and suggested instead they meet in a local graveyard.

Garda Manton said that on Halloween night in 1994, he asked her to perform oral sex on him.

She tried to do it but she stopped and refused to do it again. O’Dea stormed off.

He then raped her in the graveyard, after putting his coat under a tree and telling her to lie down on it.

He said he was going “to ride the arse” off her. She tried to get back up but he got hold of her hands and she continued to say she didn’t want to.

O’Dea told her to “pee and wash straight away”. She was frightened when she saw the bleeding, which was when he got the basin of ice.

O’Dea had sex with her again. On one occasion her sister became aware they were meeting so he suggested they meet at a shed at the back of his mother’s home.

He had sex with her there after laying her down on a mattress.


Garda Manton said that in 1996, O’Dea told O’Callaghan that he wanted to see what it was like to have sex in a bed.

He then had sex with her in his bedroom while his mother was in the sitting room. The was the final incident.

Garda Manton said O’Callaghan told a teacher what was going on and her parents were contacted.

Paddy McGrath SC, defending, asked Ms Justice Murphy to accept his client’s plea of guilty as an indication of his remorse and “an acceptance of his wrong doing”.

He said it was O’Dea’s opinion that he was neither physically or emotionally abusive to the victim but accepts that his behaviour was “wholly inappropriate and exploitative”.

McGrath said his client grew up in Limerick city and was always small in stature possibly due to malnourishment.

No insight

Ms Justice Deirdre Murphy imposed a sentence of 18 and a half years on O’Dea.

She suspended the last 18 months in recognition of his the plea of guilty and his willingness to take part in a psychological assessment.

The assessment placed O’Dea at an above average risk of sexual reoffending, and stated that he has no real insight into the damage caused by his above crimes.

Ms Justice Murphy suspended the 18 months on condition O’Dea engage with the “Building Better Lives” sex offender treatment programme.

She also imposed a post-release supervision order on O’Dea of three years.

Need help? Support is available:

  • Samaritans 116 123 or email
  • Aware 1800 80 48 48 (depression, anxiety)
  • Pieta House 1800 247 247 or email (suicide, self-harm)
  • Teen-Line Ireland 1800 833 634 (for ages 13 to 19)
  • Childline 1800 66 66 66 (for under 18s)


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Sonya McClean and Declan Brennan


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