A man described as a “complete recluse” has been jailed for the online harassment of six female writers and journalists.
Brendan Doolin of Leighlin Road, Crumlin, Dublin was today handed a five year prison sentence with the final two years suspended.
Dublin Circuit Criminal Court heard how Doolin insulted, abused and threatened the women online over a five-year period.
Sarah Griffin, Roe McDermott, Kate McEvoy, Sinead O’Carroll, Christine Bohan and Aoife Barry were harassed between May 2012 and February 2018.
Each of the women said they felt like they were being stalked on the internet, and despite their pleas for Doolin to stop, he continued to harass them.
The court heard he contacted them through various email addresses, and all felt they were being stalked through their social media accounts.
Judge Martin Nolan said he must have felt “untouchable” and free to insult and criticise them behind the shield of anonymity.
Judge Nolan heard Doolin is a complete recluse, is afraid of open, public spaces and only left his home twice in the 17 years he has lived there.
Doolin expressed remorse, but Judge Nolan said a custodial sentence could not be avoided.
He said the internet’s problem is that people can abuse, insult or criticise others with the shield of anonymity.
He handed down a five-year prison sentence, but suspended the final two years and warned Doolin never to contact any of the women again.
After the sentencing this afternoon, Deputy Editor of TheJournal.ie Christine Bohan read out a brief statement.
She said: “Brendan Doolin’s campaign of harassment against us went on for years.
“We hope that this case shows other men and women in this situation that what they say will be taken seriously if they come forward, and that online harassment is harassment and will be treated as such.
“We hope that Brenda Doolin receives the help and the rehabilitation he needs.
“We would like to thank Detective Garda Colm Gallagher and his colleagues at the cybercrime unit for their painstaking work on, and their sensitive approach to, this case.
Reporting by Frank Greaney