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Dublin: 8°C Monday 1 March 2021

Man who threatened to kill ex's parents while swinging axe avoids jail

Gavin O’Reilly has two children with his former partner.

File photo
File photo
Image: Shutterstock/Arthur Linnik

A FATHER-OF-TWO who was swinging an axe when he threatened to kill his children’s grandparents has been given a two-and-a-half-year suspended sentence.

Gavin O’Reilly, 36, was driving in front of John and Amanda Martin before he jammed on his brakes and stopped his jeep. He moved off but stopped a second time, took a large axe from the vehicle and approached the Martins’ car, swinging the tool over his head.

Garda Marvin Ireland told Noel Devitt BL, prosecuting, that as there was no traffic behind Mr Martin he managed to reverse his own car and drive away. He headed back in the same direction a few minutes later, passing O’Reilly who shouted at him that he would kill them and “get them”.

O’Reilly had previously been in a relationship with the Martins’ daughter and they had two children together. Dublin Circuit Criminal Court heard the break-up had been acrimonious.

O’Reilly, of Castlebyrne Park, Blackrock, Dublin, pleaded guilty to threatening to kill the Martins in Deansgrange on 13 February 2017. He has one previous conviction for possession of drugs.

Mr Martin read his victim impact report in which he stated that he had his wife were left “traumatised” and in “a state of shock for several days”. He said it would be on his mind when he woke in the morning and he would be thinking about the incident at night when trying to sleep.

He said it “consumed” him every day. He said his younger daughter had trouble dealing with what had happened to her parents and was nervous going to school as O’Reilly lived near by.

He said his wife lost her confidence in going out alone, even to the local shops and neither of them could enjoy going for walks as they previously had done.

“We both lost the feeling of feeling safe,” Martin said, before adding that they had to change their car and that the “school run was never the same”.

‘A massive strain’

He said the incident had initially put “a massive strain” on his relationship with his daughter, O’Reilly’s former partner, but added that this was no longer the case.

“Thankfully we can now recall the horror of that morning without getting too upset,” Martin said, adding: “This should never have happened.”

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Patrick Reynolds BL, defending, told Martin his client wished to offer his apologies and agreed that the incident should never have happened.

Counsel said his client had been a painter and decorator since he was 21 years old and had at times employed other people. He asked the court to accept that “it was a moment of madness” for O’Reilly.

Judge Martin Nolan said O’Reilly had made serious threats and “to give a concrete expression” to those threats he swung an axe.

I’ve no doubt it was a frightening incident and that the victim impact report is accurate in terms of the life effects.

“He was in a particularly bad temper and he took it out on them,” Judge Nolan said, before adding that O’Reilly’s actions were reprehensible and totally unjustified.

He said he didn’t believe O’Reilly deserved an immediate custodial sentence before he suspended a two-and-a-half year term on condition that he does not seek to contact the Martins.

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Sonya McClean

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