Sunday, April 21, 2024

Mullingar man (28) jailed for kidnapping former partner

A MULLINGAR man, who kidnapped his former partner after she had left him at the end of a violent relationship, has been given a seven years sentence, with the final two years suspended. The court heard that, at one stage, he allegedly told her “You are going to die with me tonight.”
The defendant, who cannot be named for legal reasons, was convicted by a Central Criminal Court jury of false imprisonment of the woman in November 2015, following a trial last December. He later admitted assaulting her on three occasions while she was pregnant with their children, between 2011 and 2015.
The court heard that after leaving the accused man in November 2015, the woman had gone with their children to stay with her sister in Longford and taken out a barring order.
The accused man later forcibly removed the woman from the Longford house where she was minding their children and held her against her will in Rochfortbridge until she escaped the following day.
In her victim impact statement, the woman outlined how she had suffered “physical and mental torture” during the relationship. She said she had suffered a mental breakdown as a result of the case and her children were no longer living with her, but there was a plan for them to be reunited. She said she had been diagnosed with post traumatic stress and suffers nightmares about the accused man. She said he had controlled everything and made her feel like a prisoner in her mind.
The 28-year-old man had pleaded not guilty to rape, false imprisonment, and production of an article in November 2015 and three counts of assaulting the woman causing her harm on dates between 2011 and 2015.
The jury at that trial were unable to reach verdicts on the rape and three assault charges.
The accused later entered guilty pleas to the three assault charges and production of an article. The Director of Public Prosecutions entered a nolle prosequi on the rape charge.
Ms Justice Carmel Stewart said it was clear that the events had a traumatic and life changing impact on the woman but noted she was coming to terms with it, with the help of counsellors and was working towards being re-united with her children.
Eye witnesses had seen the accused man carry and drag away the woman from her sister’s house in Longford. The woman had been the only responsible adult at the time, caring for the children in the house.

ASSAULTED DAY BEFORE GIVING BIRTH
The court heard that the woman was subjected to frequent violence during the relationship. She described being physically assaulted during her pregnancies and one occasion being assaulted the day before her waters broke when giving birth to one of their children.
“It was a very violent and vicious relationship,” the woman told prosecuting counsel Brendan Grehan SC during the trial. “If I had good days, I was over the moon. There weren’t many of them.”
She had decided to leave the accused after he told her not to join a local gym because “fellas would be looking at you.” She had some assistance from Gardai to go to a refuge and moved from place to place. She also obtained a barring order.
In November 2015, she was in her sister’s house when the man came in the back door and physically lifted her out of the house.
The accused drove her around country roads. He was speeding and driving around the wrong side of the road with no lights on. They had nearly hit a lorry when he allegedly told her, “You’re going to die with me tonight.”
They ended up at the accused’s friend’s house. At one stage Gardaí arrived, searching for the accused and he brought her out to the back garden until they left. Later that night, the woman managed to escape, and residents of a nearby house called gardai.
GARDAI MINDED CHILDREN
The woman’s niece gave evidence during the trial that she ran to neighbour’s house to raise the alarm after the accused left, with the woman and the gardaí were called.
The sergeant who arrived said that he found a scene of general disorder with children crying.
“The house was kept in very good condition, he said, “but there were children everywhere. Everywhere you looked, there was a child,” he told Mr Grehan, SC.
Gardaí could not get in touch with the woman’s sister, who was out at the time as her phone battery had died.
The sergeant said he and his colleagues got dinner ready for the children, changed their nappies and minded them until the sister came home. He said he later learned the complainant had fled to safety and that the accused had been arrested.
The Garda agreed with Mr Grehan that the woman said she had been screaming for help during the ordeal and asked the man to let her go. She had been in fear throughout and thought she might die.

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