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Dublin: 14 °C Sunday 21 April, 2019
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Man who repeatedly punched ex-partner, then abducted their one-year-old daughter, avoids jail sentence

The man’s former partner said that on the night in question he had been “out of his bin” with alcohol.

SCC Rolling 7 Source: Sasko Lazarov/Rollingnews.ie

A DUBLIN MAN who assaulted his ex-partner and then abducted their one-year-old daughter in the early hours of the morning has walked free from court with a suspended sentence.

The 30-year-old man of no fixed abode admitted breaking into the home of his ex-partner in Tallaght, Dublin, on 7 April last.

He further pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to assaulting the woman and falsely imprisoning their daughter on the same occasion. He cannot be named in order to protect the identity of his daughter.

The court heard how gardaí found the accused man in a highly intoxicated state at around 5am, walking with his toddler ten minutes from her home, before persuading him to return the child to her mother.

Counsel for the accused described him as a “Jekyll and Hyde character” who was very amenable when sober but turned extremely aggressive when drunk.

Judge Martin Nolan sentenced him to three years fully suspended, on condition that he keep the peace for the duration of his jail term and abide by the supervision of the probation services for 18 months.

The man was also told not to approach or try to contact his ex or the child for three years, unless by consent of the mother or by order of the Family Court.

Prison

“If you breach that condition, there’s every likelihood you’ll spend three years in prison,” warned Judge Nolan.

Garda David O’Riordan told Elva Duffy BL, prosecuting, that gardaí were called to the house on the morning in question to find the woman out in her driveway, very upset and panicking.

She later told gardaí that she and her three children, aged seven, five, and 18 months, had all been asleep when they were woken up by the sound of a baby gate falling to the ground and the house alarm going off.

The woman told her seven-year-old son to go back to bed and followed the accused into the kitchen, where he backed her into a counter and grabbed her.

He said he was “going to f***ing kill her” and kept punching her to both sides of her head, repeating that he wanted his daughter.

She told gardaí that the man was “out of his bin” with drink and that she had never seen him in such a state of intoxication.

The woman’s seven-year-old son came into the kitchen and told the man to stop hurting his mother. The accused stopped punching the woman, hugged the child and told him it was okay.

The man then went into his baby daughter’s bedroom and shouted at his ex to change the child’s nappy, which she did.

The woman was holding the baby in her arms walking down the stairs and described the accused standing over her “digging into her head” and screaming at her to give him the child.

Screaming

She said her two other children were at the top of the stairs also screaming, so she gave her baby to the accused to try and calm down the situation and he left the house with the toddler.

Her eldest son then rung 999, and a short time later gardaí found the accused ten minutes away from the house.

Gardaí told the man it was a cold night and too early to be out with the child, persuading him to sit into the patrol car and return to his ex’s house.

The man was arrested and deemed unfit to be interviewed for six hours due to his drunkenness. He later denied hitting his ex-partner but agreed with gardaí that he shouldn’t have brought the child out at that hour of the morning.

“It was an unsuitable time. Come to think of it, it was unacceptable,” the accused told gardaí. He has two previous convictions for threatening and abusive behaviour.

The woman suffered painful bruises to the head and wrote a victim impact statement which was read by the judge in silence.

She told gardaí that all she had wanted was for the accused to be a dad to his daughter, but said she wouldn’t “let him near her” until he had sorted out his drinking.

The court heard the accused had been living with his mother but that his mother had taken out a barring order against him in the hope that he would address his addiction.

John Costello BL, defending, said his client’s life has “descended into a large degree of chaos” due to alcohol and that he had most recently been living at various hostels.

He said his client was very contrite and was on a waiting list for a faith-based residential treatment programme for alcohol addiction.

“He accepts that his behaviour on the day was abominable,” said Costello.

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Jessica Magee

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