Matter adjourned to February for psychological assessments and probation report
A 27-year-old Westport man who sent up to 500 texts of a threatening, abusive and sexually explicit nature to a 14-year-old boy says he cannot explain his actions.
Brian Flynn of Lanmore, Liscarney, Westport, pleaded guilty to the harassment of Harry Langan, now aged 15, over a ten-month period from November, 2011, to August, 2012.
At Westport District Court on Thursday last, Judge Mary Devins described the harassment as an ‘evil’ act.
Brian Flynn took the stand to offer an apology and said he wanted to get to the root of his problems. “I cannot apologise enough. I had no intention to cause harm to Harry. I never had any problem with any of them (Langan family) … I always got on with them.
“This will be with me for the rest of my life. I’m so sorry I targeted someone so young and the family have enough to be dealing with as it is. It tears me apart … I want to get to the bottom of my own problems,” said Flynn.
His solicitor, Tom Walsh, asked for an adjournment so that reports from a cognitive therapist and a psychotherapist, both of whom Flynn is currently seeing, together with other assessments, could be prepared.
Judge Devins read a victim-impact statement written by Gemma Langan, mother of the victim. It was not read in open court.
“It is very disturbing reading. All credit to Harry that he didn’t take the way out the way others have recently. All credit to his parents too. This was malicious and evil,” she said.
Sergeant Pat Lavelle told the court that Harry Langan’s parents, Brian and Gemma, came to him on November 16, 2011, to report that their son was receiving explicit texts on his mobile phone.
Sergeant Lavelle said that Flynn had five SIM cards and that he would send texts both to Harry Langan and to others, signed by Harry Langan.
One text sent, purporting to be from Harry Langan, said Harry wanted to meet someone at the top of Bridge Street and fight them.
Sergeant Lavelle said Flynn sent ‘at least four to five texts every week’. He read out in court a number of the text messages which had been sent to Harry Langan by Brian Flynn.
The first text read to the court said: ‘be warned [name withheld] and a few others are saying they’re going to head out to your school to teach you a lesson. Be on the look out’.
A further text read out by Sergeant Lavelle read as follows: ‘You’ll need more than your Mammy minding you at the Octagon next week gayboy. A certain someone is getting out of jail and will be looking for you. I’ll give you the heads up though’.
Two others texts read into court said: ‘are you going to be hanging around town this evening Harry? I’ve someone that would like to meet you’ and ‘You’re a f***ing bitch Harry and I will see you soon’.
The final text read to the court was ‘good man Langan. Keep at it. Keep f***ing at it and see where it will get you’. The court heard Harry was beaten up by a group at the Octagon, Westport, who thought he’d sent them a threatening text.
The Mayo News understands that the texts read out in court were all among the earlier texts sent to Harry Langan, and that many other texts that were sent were of an even more threatening, obscene and malicious nature.
Sergeant Lavelle said that during the investigation, the SIM cards were found to be unregistered, ‘Ready to Go’ cards, that were being topped up. CCTV footage from two retail locations in Westport was analysed, and Flynn was seen in those locations close to the time when the phones were topped up.
He said that Flynn continued to send texts to Harry Langan up until the day he was arrested, even though the phone had by then been taken by his parents, Gemma and Brian Langan.
Judge Devins was shown a copy of The Mayo News from May 29, 2012, when the Langans went public in a bid to stop the harassment.
Sergeant Lavelle said that he arrested Flynn at his place of work on Bridge Street, Westport on August 24. He said Flynn made a statement of admission but gave no explanation as to his actions.
The court heard that, prior to the arrest, Brian Langan used to bring Harry to the swimming pool and might run into Brian Flynn there and both men would talk.
Defending solicitor Tom Walsh said his client worked in a male drapers in Westport for seven years and was the youngest of ten children. He said how the Flynn family had suffered two family tragedies in recent years and these tragedies had impacted on his client.
He said that just before the harassment began Flynn was drinking too much and had inappropriate entries put on Facebook when he lost his phone and someone got access to his account. He said it was no justification but this incident ‘led to the snapping of his mind’, which in turn led him to pick on Harry Langan ‘in the vilest way’.
Judge Devins adjourned the matter to February 21.