Residents in the Cork suburb of Douglas are living in fear after a convicted killer and attempted rapist has returned to the area.
Conor Downey was jailed in 1993 for manslaughter in London after he confessed to killing a 26-year-old woman in 1988. He said he strangled her after she withdrew consent when they were having sex. His victim’s limbs were recovered but her torso was never found.
He was also imprisoned in 2004 for an attack on a Cork nurse. He broke into her house, attempted to rape her and then viciously beat her. Police testified that the woman was so badly beaten "they thought she was wearing a Halloween mask."
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Downey was jailed for 12 years for the attack on the nurse, but was released recently with remission.
Now he is free after getting remission from that 12 year sentence and has moved back to Douglas.
Mary Crilly of the Cork Rape Crisis Center called for police to reveal where Downey is at all times.
According to community organizations, there is a "sense of extreme anxiety" about the killer's return, and local politicians, householders and community groups have contacted police demanding to know what can be done to force him out of the area. A text campaign warning others of Downey's presence is also taking place, report the Irish Examiner.
Several locals were willing to talk about the neighborhood's fears --but none would give their names.
Said one man: "There are people who normally just salute me who are now stopping me to talk about this. Everyone sees it as a very serious problem. There are girls working in local shops who are terrified to be on their own in the shop.
"We don’t know what the solution is. Is it tagging or what? But we do know that none of us want him here. You also have to ask how many sex offenders there are in any town in Ireland? We found out though the press but what about all the others?"
Said Fine Gael councillor Laura McGonigle: "There are provisions under the Criminal Justice Act for the supervision of such people post-release. People must try and not get hysterical. People should just continue to take normal precautions like telling people where they are going, ringing them when they reach their destination, not walking alone in badly lit, dangerous areas, etc."
A well-known figure in the community said that while he urged people "not to get too hyped about this," he did admit that he now collects his daughter from work when she finishes up at night.
"I would get worried that people are getting too hyped with women living nearby saying they can’t sleep at night, but I am not the only father collecting their daughters from work now. The attitude is that we have to do all that we can to ensure that there isn’t another victim around here. There isn’t a woman in this suburb who doesn’t feel threatened."