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Monday, 25th March 2024

Three accused of attempting to extort €1.5m from Drogheda businessman

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Victim received death threats, a pipe bomb was left outside his Clogherhead home

Three men have been accused of attempting to extort €1.5m from Drogheda businessman Neil Kelly who had a pipe bomb and live ammunition left outside his home last August.

Thomas O’Gorman, 60, appeared before Dundalk District Court on March 6th charged with making a threat to Neil Kelly to kill or cause serious harm by placing a viable pipe bomb and four rounds of ammunition at his home in Clogherhead, Co Louth on August 26, 2023.

He is further charged with blackmailing Mr Kelly with menace on dates between August 26 and December 13, 2023 contrary to Section 17 of the Criminal Justice (Public Order) Act, 1994 as amended by Section 22 of the Intoxicating Liquor Act, 2008.

Dundalk District Court heard Mr O’Gorman was arrested on Sunday, March 3 and charged with the offences.

Mr O’Gorman, of Old Balrath Post Office in Navan, County Meath was brought before Dundalk District Court where he was remanded in custody with consent to bail on his own bond of €10k and an independent surety of €10k.

As part of his bail conditions, Mr O’Gorman is to reside at an address handed into court; sign on daily at a named Garda station; obey a curfew between 11pm and 6am and have no contact whatsoever with any witness in the prosecution case.

He is also not to apply for a passport or any other travel documents and be available at all times on his mobile phone to Gardaí.

Two Dublin men were previously in court accused of involvement in the same crime. Darren Cole (49) and Francis O’Hanlon (59) both appeared in court on February 23 charged with demanding money with menaces from Mr. Kelly.

Mr Cole was also charged with threatening to kill or seriously harm him.

Messages were left on his phone threatening his wellbeing and that of his family, including that he “knew what to do” to stop the threats. The court also heard evidence of several meetings Mr Kelly attended at which both accused were allegedly present.

It was alleged Mr Kelly was told if the debt was not paid “things would end very badly” and he was in fear for his life.

Cole and O'Hanlon have been granted bail, subject to strict conditions, including a ban from entering County Louth.

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