A CONVICTED rapist's return to his hometown following his release from prison has sparked unease with residents and led to vigilante-style protests.
John Connors (36) spent 14 years in prison for the monstrous rape of a woman in her own home while her young child was in the next room.
He, along with Patrick Moorehouse (33) who also took part in the rape, was released from prison in June of this year and has settled into a house in his hometown of Enniscorthy, County Wexford.
Locals have been both fearful and angry at the rapist's return, and last night Gardaí, including armed units, were sent to settle a dispute which had kicked off between associates of Connors and a 100-strong crowd of protesters who had gathered outside of his house.
Protesters chanted "sick rapist out" as they converged in the Enniscorthy housing estate at around 9.30pm last night and found themselves faced with several friends of Connors, who held iron bars and a chainsaw to keep the protesters back.
A protester at last night's dispute spoke to The Independent of the community's fury and wariness, saying the convicted rapist "Has shown no signs of shame".
"He has even been observed going door to door trying to sell perfume in town."
Connors' initial arrest came after himself and friend Patrick Moorehouse knocked on the door of a young woman and pretended to try and sell her a camcorder. They forced her into a room and wrapped a rope around her throat before each man took turns raping her.
The victim had said that she tried not to make much noise at the time to protect her young child, who was in the next room and was unaware what was happening.
"People, especially women and parents with kids, don't want this sex offender in the area and what happened on Monday night is a result of this," the source said. "Despite his horrible crimes, Connors still has plenty of associates in the town and a large number of them arrived at the property when the crowd gathered outside where he had been staying."
"Things were very tense for a while, with people shouting 'Rapist out' and so on, with Connors' associates then telling them to 'f**k off'.
"Everything got more serious when two lads linked to Connors produced the iron bar and chainsaw. The chainsaw was not turned on and the items were not used to assault anyone.
"Very shortly after, Gardaí arrived in great numbers and eventually everyone was dispersed from the area and Connors was driven off in a van."
There were no arrests or injuries following the protests.
Because John Connors has served his time in prison for the horrific attack, he is within his right to live freely wherever in Ireland he pleases, however the major concern from residents is to be expected.