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Man sentenced to six years for assaulting and threatening to kill his pregnant partner

The court heard that the man committed numerous offences while on bail and in breach of a protection order

A MAN HAS been sentenced to six years in prison after assaulting his partner on seven separate occasions and threatening to kick and cut their baby out of her.

The now 22-year-old Dublin man was 17 years old and homeless when he began a relationship with the then 25-year-old woman.

He moved into her home and the couple later had a daughter together.

The man pleaded guilty at the Central Criminal Court to six charges of assault causing harm and one of assault, stealing the woman’s car, her bank cards, her tablet and her mobile phone three times, criminal damage to her mother’s home, threatening to damage her mother’s home by fire and threats to kill the woman on dates between December 2017 and July 2019.

Further offences of breaching a protection order were taken into account. A more serious charge has been dropped by the State.

Garda Gary Farrell told Aideen Collard BL, prosecuting, that the offences involved seven separate assaults during which the accused headbutted the woman, attempted to strangle her, bit her, punched her in the stomach while she was pregnant, dragged her down the stairs, put her head in a toilet and kicked her in the face.

The court heard on one occasion the woman asked the accused if she could wear shorts because it was hot outside.

This angered him, causing him to put her head in the toilet. He then threw her into a cold shower before he dragged her out of it and kicked her in the face, causing her nose to bleed.

On another occasion, when he lost his temper he dragged the woman down the stairs, banging her head off each step, before he grabbed a knife and threatened to cut their baby out of her.

He threw her out the front door and his grandmother called an ambulance.

The man also stole the woman’s phone and wallet while they were in Dublin City together. She followed him to plead with him to return them and he threatened to kill her and their baby.

He deliberately smashed her phone, threw her cards and contents of her handbag into the River Liffey and told her he would kick their baby out of her.

“One swift kick and it will be gone,” he threatened before he went to kick the woman. He fell backwards and she managed to escape and run to the nearest hospital where she was kept in for a number of days for observation.

Garda Farrell said in March 2019 the teenager also threatened to rape his partner and their baby, once the baby was born. This led to the woman making a formal complaint to Gardaí. The man was charged three days later but was granted bail pending trial.

The following June the man assaulted the woman again, headbutting her on the face and nose. He was on bail at that time and also in breach of a protection order that the woman had secured against him.

The following month he stole the woman’s tablet computer. She reported the incident and he was remanded in custody two days later.

Victim’s mother

Garda Farrell told the court that during this period the man also threatened the woman’s mother and destroyed her home with the handle of a pickaxe.

This occurred in December 2017 after the man asked his partner for a scrambler bike for Christmas. She said she couldn’t afford to get him one and he took a pickaxe handle and destroyed her mother’s home by slashing at internal walls, ceilings and furniture causing over €30,000 worth of damage.

Garda Farrell said that two months later the man told his partner’s mother he would “sort her out and burn her out” of her home, threatening to set her home on fire.

That same month, after the woman discovered she was pregnant, she was waiting outside a District Court for the man when he came up to her and demanded to know who she was texting.

He grabbed the phone off her, punched her and threatened to punch their baby out of her.

Garda Farrell said the man then called the woman’s mother and said he would kill her daughter by driving into a wall. He then got into the driver seat and drove off. He later lost control of the car, crashed it and wrote off the vehicle.

The woman’s mother stated in her victim impact statement that she feared that day that she would find her daughter “dead in a ditch”.

“He rang me to let me hear him beat my pregnant daughter. I pleaded with him to stop. I thought my heart would break. I honestly felt she would be found dead in a ditch,” she stated in her victim impact statement.

Garda Farrell said the man had 57 previous convictions, including a previous offence of defilement of a child when he was a teenager and the victim was a teenager.

Justice David Keane said it was impossible to read the victim impact statements of the woman and her mother without having “tremendous” sympathy for both women. “No one should ever have to endure such a protracted ordeal,” he said.

He took into account the fact the man had pleaded guilty and acknowledged that he had read out a letter of apology but he said there was very little sympathy and empathy towards the women in this letter.

Justice Keane imposed consecutive sentences totally eight years, having taken into account that the man was on bail when he committed some of the offences and the fact that the offences relate to different people.

“I take the view that they (the offences) fall outside the single transaction principle,” he said.

He suspended the final two years on strict conditions including that the man be of good behaviour for three years, co-operate with any recommended treatment programmes and attend for an assessment for domestic violence intervention programme.

The judge said he felt the two years should be suspended for three years under those strict conditions because of the Probation Service assessment that the man was at a high risk of re-offending.

Risk of re-offending

A report from the Probation Service accessed the man at being at a high risk of re-offending and at “a very high risk of committing intimate partner violence in the future”.

The report said the man showed “an entrenched and concerning pattern of general offending for such a young man”.

A psychologist report outlined his family history in that he was a child of addict parents and the fact that he had incidences of self-harm as a young teenager.

He started abusing cannabis at a very young age and had been hospitalised previously for excessive cocaine use. He claimed that he had attended drug treatment seven or eight times but there were no reports to support this.

The woman stated in her victim impact statement that “the beatings became more violent” when she got pregnant. “The slightest thing would set him off”, she said.

She said he would constantly intimidate her and threaten her but “I always went back to him. I believed he was all I had left”. She said she believed that if she stayed with him and left her daughter with her parents, that would protect her child from the man.

“Eventually I was numb and I felt I would be better off dead,” she said but added that her daughter gave her the strength to re-build her life.

“I feel in my heart and soul that my life has changed. I don’t know who I am anymore. I only know one thing, if he gets the chance, he will do it again,” the woman said.

The woman’s mother also made a victim impact statement and said that she had put her blood, sweat and tears into providing a forever home for her family and the accused “destroyed this, with a trail of destruction. I could not believe someone would carry out such destruction”.

She spoke of the threats the man made to burn down her home. “The crazed venom he spoke will haunt me,” she said before adding that she doesn’t feel safe anywhere.

“He put a fear in me that I will never be able to shake,” the woman said.

The man’s aunt told Maurice Coffey SC, defending, that the accused was “a good kid” who protects his younger brother.

“He is a kind soul. There is goodness and kindness in him,” she continued before she added that things “spiralled out of control” when he met the complainant.

“There was an intelligence and age gap between them,” she said before she added that she makes no excuses for the offences that he carried out.

The man read a letter of apology to the court. He said when he read the book of evidence in the case “I cried my eyes out. I never knew it was that bad,” he continued before he added that he wanted to take the opportunity to apologise to the woman and her family for his actions.