One of Northern Ireland's most notorious sex offenders yesterday lost his appeal against his conviction for breaching a court order designed to stop him from re-offending.
Eamon Foley, (48), from Castlederg in Co Tyrone, was jailed for 16 years in 1999 for raping Mary Anne McLaughlin in her mobile home on the outskirts of Castlederg. Four weeks after she was raped, Miss McLaughlin died.
Foley was released from prison last October having served half of his sentence but he was immediately re-arrested at the gates of Magilligan Prison in Co Derry for breaching the terms of an interim Sexual Offences Prevention Order by failing to give an agreed pre-release address to the authorities.
Foley, who is one of only six sex offenders in Northern Ireland registered as a highest category three offender, was jailed for four months at the Magistrates Court in Derry last January for breaching the terms of the Order. He was released having already served time in custody for the offence.
Yesterday his appeal against that conviction was turned down and Judge Philip Babington affirmed the sentence.
However while giving his evidence from the witness box, Foley accused the police and probation service in Northern Ireland of blackmailing him.
"I was held hostage in Northern Ireland, blackmailed, unless I stayed in a Probation Hostel which I would not do. I wanted to live in Donegal where I'd been living before my arrest but they refused to let me. They wanted me to go to a Probation Hostel but I would not go because their conditions were I could not go out, could not go with a woman, could not go to work. Sure I may as well have stayed in prison", he said.
However, Judge Babington said he was quite satisfied that Foley had been correctly convicted of the breach at the Magistrates' Court last January.
"Furthermore I do not take kindly to people making allegations and abusing the privilege of the witness box," he said.
Judge Babington said he affirmed the four month sentence and released Foley because he already had time served for the offence.
Following his release from prison Foley lived with his sister in the Co Tyrone village of Gortin but he left following a series of public protests against his presence. He then moved to a house at Seegronnan Road near Castlederg, but that house was seriously damaged in an arson attack last month.