Man feared for his life in year-long campaign of threats
A man has avoided a conviction after he waged a “shocking” year-long harassment campaign against another man and threatened to kill him – leaving his victim in fear for his safety.
Tony Levins (50) was bound to a peace bond for one year and was also ordered to have no contact whatsoever with his victim John Foley and his family.
He sent anonymous and threatening typed letters and text messages to Mr Foley in what a judge called a “very serious and shocking case” and “bizarre behaviour”.
Levins threatened to batter him into a coma, and threatened to “get him when he least expects it”, with a “knife or infected needle”.
He also sent anonymous letters to Mr Foley’s partner and his employer to try to tarnish his character and work performance.
He also paid visits to Mr Foley’s workplace, Drogheda District Court heard.
He was caught because his DNA was found on the envelopes of the letters.
Levins had known Mr Foley for years, and in one of the letters told him: “You are lucky I didn’t connect a hurley to your head. I would have battered you in a coma.”
A second letter sent by Levins stated: “We will get you when you are least expecting it. Who’s gonna notice a knife or an infected needle stabbing you in a packed pub or a busy street?”
Levins, of Ashfield Grove, North Road, Drogheda, Co Louth, pleaded guilty to harassing Mr Foley at various locations between March 1, 2018, and February 1, 2019. He also pleaded guilty to threatening to kill him.
He has no previous convictions.
Mr Foley told the court he had “suffered death threats hanging over me”.
“I suffered,” he said.
“I could have lost my job because of the letters written about me. His apology letter does not show remorse.
“He is saying he is not a dangerous or violent person yet one of his letters said ‘you are lucky I didn’t connect a hurley to your head. I would have battered you in a coma’,” said Mr Foley.
A probation report stated that Levins has “demonstrated remorse and shame and recognises the damage he caused”, and that he has sought treatment for his mental health.
The court heard Levins’s underlying mental health issue was sparked following the sudden death of his brother in 2018.
Defence solicitor Patrick Goodwin said Levins “feels he let himself and his family down” because of his actions and he apologises.
“He offered Mr Foley €2,000 but this wasn’t accepted,” said Mr Goodwin, adding the defendant has been “offered a work position”.
“If he gets a conviction he is concerned that job opportunity will go,” said Mr Goodwin, asking the judge not to impose a prison sentence.
Addressing the court, Mr Foley said: “What I want is maximum protection for myself and family. If he gets away too lightly he could do this to someone else.
“He is not the victim here today,” Mr Foley said, when Judge Eirinn McKiernan was considering the sanction for Levins.
“I am not diminishing in any way the gravity of what he did and Mr Foley has suffered terribly,” said Judge McKiernan.
“In normal circumstances it would involve custody without hesitation but he has an underlying mental health issue.”
The judge then bound Levins to the peace for 12 months and ordered him not to have any contact with Mr Foley and his family.