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Westmeath man who kidnapped his ex-partner handed 7-year jail term

At the time of the false imprisonment, the accused would not accept that the relationship was over.

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A MAN WHO kidnapped his former partner after she had left him at the end of a violent relationship has been given a seven-year sentence with the final two years suspended.

The Westmeath man 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 and taken out a barring order.

The accused man later forcibly removed the woman from the house where she was minding their children and held her against her will until she escaped the following day.

Nightmares

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, who cannot be named for legal reasons, 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 man later entered guilty pleas to the three assault charges and production of an article. The Director of Public Prosecutions have entered a nolle prosequi on the rape charge.

Judge’s comments

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.

She noted that eye-witnesses had seen the accused man carry and drag away the woman from her sister’s house. She said the woman had been the only responsible adult at the time caring for the children in the house at the time.

Justice Stewart noted that video evidence in the trial showed the car the accused took the woman away in had been driven in a reckless and dangerous manner which at a minimum had been a terrifying ordeal for the woman.

She said due to the way the family had been broken up the children were also victims of the accused man’s appalling conduct.

Justice Stewart said the accused had demonstrated insight into the truly awful consequences for the injured party and has now acknowledged his relationship with the woman was over.

She noted in mitigation that the accused man was availing of assistance in custody and had a growing understanding of the “gravity and awfulness” he had engaged in.

She imposed a seven year sentence and suspended the final two years on strict conditions which included not making contact with the woman unless through an authorised third party.

Michael Bowman SC, defending, said the accused man had written a letter of contrition and acknowledged full responsibility as well as the enormity of the wrong he had done. He said the man has committed himself to personal change.

He said the accused man at the time of the false imprisonment would not accept that the relationship was over.

He said the he had wanted an opportunity to spend time alone with the woman to convince her that he loved her and wanted one more chance to put things right.

He asked the court to take into account the accused man’s age, guilty pleas, family circumstances, the time he has spent in custody since the offence and that he was proactively engaging in rehabilitation.

Read: Garda witness called ‘woman beater’ and ‘uniformed scumbag’ during protest, court told

Read: Man who held woman down while another man raped her jailed for nine years

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Fiona Ferguson

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